What You Should Do
Don’t be a hero and try to tough out an illness. Call your doctor to report any concerning symptoms, especially those of COVID-19 or flu you may need a test and treatment.
“It’s a different era from when you didn’t want to bother your doctor,” Dr. Jha says. “Don’t deny yourself care. Your doctor would never want that. And the earlier you call, the sooner you can be treated if you need it.”
What Are The Symptoms Of Copd
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is basically airway constipation, says Tan. This is because your airways may become clogged with mucus, or the airway walls may be inflamed. Additionally, in healthy lungs, air sacs called alveoli have elasticity to them. These air sacs are crucial for bringing oxygen into the body. Inhaling inflates the air sacs, and exhaling deflates them. However, if you have COPD, these air sacs and your airways might be less elastic, which can negatively affect your airflow.
All of these factors make it difficult for COPD patients to fully exhale air out their lungs.
Not being able to fully exhale all the air in the lungs results in the trapping of air in their lungs, and overtime this trapping of air can result in patients having to work extra hard to fill their already filled lungs with fresh air, says Tan.
This obstructed airflow can lead to various symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- General fatigue
- Extra production of mucus and phlegm in the lungs and airways, which can contribute to chronic coughing
COPD is progressive, which means the disease and its symptoms get worse over time.
Tan says patients should get help immediately if they have the following symptoms:
- Severe sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Coughing up more than a teaspoon of blood
Acute Vs Chronic Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis most often develops after youve had a viral or bacterial infection. But, other irritants, such as smoke, dust, or fumes, can also cause acute bronchitis. Acute bronchitis symptoms usually subside after 7 to 10 days, but you might still cough for several weeks.
Chronic bronchitis happens when you have repeated attacks of bronchitis. Its defined as having a productive cough that lasts at least three months, with recurring episodes for at least two straight years. Smoking causes more than 80 percent of all cases of chronic bronchitis.
Sometimes, people who have frequent episodes of acute bronchitis go on to develop chronic bronchitis.
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Sleep Disorders And Fatigue
Symptoms: Chronic fatigue, feeling exhausted upon awakening, snoring
Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that disrupt or prevent restful, restorative sleep. That can take a toll on your health and quality of life, so its important to look out for signs and symptoms.
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders. If you or your partner notices loud snoring and you wake up tired and stay that way, you could have sleep apnea. More than one-third of adults in the U.S. snore at least a few nights a week. But if the snoring stops your breathing for seconds at a time, it could be sleep apnea. Learn more about the best sleep positions and see if sleeping on your stomach is bad or not.
Obstructive sleep apnea causes low blood oxygen levels. Thats because blockages prevent air from getting to the lungs. The low oxygen levels also affect how well your heart and brain work. Sometimes, the only clue that you might have sleep apnea is chronic fatigue.
Your doctor may prescribe a medical device called CPAP that helps keep your airways open while you sleep. In severe cases of sleep apnea, surgery may help. The surgeon will remove tissues that are blocking the airways. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack.
But sleep apnea is just one of many sleep disorders that cause fatigue. Other common types include:
How Do Doctors Diagnose The Cause Of A Cough
When diagnosing the cause of a cough without fever, a doctor will ask about the symptoms a person is experiencing. They may also carry out a physical exam, during which they will use a stethoscope to listen for any unusual sounds in the lungs.
A doctor may also recommend other diagnostic procedures, including:
- a chest X-ray or CT scan to check for fluid or abnormalities in the lungs
- allergy tests to determine whether the cough is due to an undiagnosed allergy
- a sputum test to check for the presence of infectious pathogens
- blood tests to check for an infection or inflammation
Coughs should improve without medical intervention in 34 weeks. However, if a cough persists beyond 4 weeks, a person should consult a doctor for a diagnosis.
A person should also speak with a doctor if any of the following symptoms accompany their cough:
- increased mucus production
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Whats The Difference Between Bronchitis And Pneumonia
Bronchitis and pneumonia both affect the lungs and cause similar symptoms, but theyre different illnesses. While bronchitis affects the bronchial tubes, pneumonia affects the tiny air sacs in your lungs, causing them to fill with fluid.
Pneumonia is usually more serious than bronchitis and is often caused by bacteria rather than a virus. But, you can still develop viral pneumonia.
In addition to bronchitis symptoms, people with pneumonia might also experience:
- severe breathing trouble
Acute bronchitis usually goes away without any treatment in a couple of weeks.
Sometimes, doctors recommend mucus-loosening medications, cough medication, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen , to help with symptoms. If you have a bacterial infection, antibiotics can help.
You could benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation if you have chronic bronchitis. Pulmonary rehabilitation is a breathing exercise program.
If you have additional underlying medical conditions, you might also need to take an inhaler or other medication to reduce inflammation in your lungs.
You may not be able to avoid getting bronchitis, but certain measures can help lower your risk. These include:
- avoiding smoke and other irritants
- getting the seasonal flu vaccine
- washing your hands to prevent the spread of germs
- getting plenty of rest
Despite Symptoms Its Not The Flu
COVID-19 is not the flu.
As one of a class of pathogens known as coronaviruses, COVID-19 is actually more closely related to the common cold than the seasonal flu.
However, despite some overlap, the typical symptoms of COVID-19 are more similar to the flu than the common cold .
The Delta variant, however, may have more cold-like symptoms.
In terms of differentiating between flu and COVID-19, it can be almost impossible to distinguish, Dr. Jake Deutsch, co-founder and clinical director of Cure Urgent Care and Specialty Infusion in New York. Thats why people are recommended to have flu vaccinations so it can at least minimize the risk of flu in light of everything else.
Fevers, body aches, coughing, sneezing could all be equally attributed to them both, so it really means that if theres a concern for flu, theres a concern for COVID-19, Deutsch said.
When and where you get sick might be the best predictor of whether you have a cold, the flu, or COVID-19, Yildirim said.
People living in communities with low vaccination rates and high rates of COVID-19 are more likely to have COVID-19, she said, especially outside of cold and flu season.
However, she said, differentiating becomes more difficult during the winter, when all three diseases may be widespread.
If you have a mild case of COVID-19, the flu, or a cold, treatment is geared toward management of symptoms, said Cutler.
Mild cases of COVID-19 are thought to last approximately 2 weeks, said Cutler.
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Shortness Of Breath: When To See Your Doctor
Sep 30, 2019Cara Martinez
Shortness of breath can be brought on by many thingssome more serious than others.
Causes can include aerobic exercise, intense physical activity, asthma, anxiety, or being in high altitude. And in some cases, shortness of breath can be the symptom of a lesser-known life-threatening condition.
“When searching for an undetected cause of shortness of breath, we first look to the heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Then, we look for 5 signs that will guide us toward the right diagnosis.”
Here, Cedars-Sinai experts explain some of the conditions responsible for shortness of breath and when you should see your doctor.
Read: Pulmonary Embolism: Finding the Hidden Threat
Who Gets Long Covid
About half of adults have lingering symptoms after COVID-19. Long COVID-19 in children is less common. Theres no way to say wholl get long COVID-19, but there are some things that make it more likely:
- Having other medical conditions Those with serious or chronic medical conditions may have a higher chance of long-haul symptoms. For example, one study found that having type 2 diabetes makes long COVID-19 much more likely.
- The severity of your illness If you had severe COVID-19, you may be more likely to have significant symptoms that disrupt your daily life. But you can still have long COVID-19, even if you had few or minor symptoms in the beginning.
- Being a woman Women, even those who are younger or who had mild illness, seem to be at greater risk of long COVID-19 than men. An estimated 60-80% of COVID-19 long-haulers are women.
- Being unvaccinated Studies show that people who are fully vaccinated are about half as likely to develop long-haul symptoms, even if they get breakthrough COVID-19. The vaccine is especially effective at preventing long COVID in adults over the age of 60.
While we dont yet know exactly why long COVID-19 happens, the scientific community thinks it may have to do with damage to blood vessels or the brain, autoimmune effects or underlying infection. Research is underway to learn if certain people are more likely to continue to feel the effects of COVID-19 over the long-term and how best to treat these effects.
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‘i Was Sleeping 19 Hours A Day’
For Noelle Ruiz, 27, it began March 10 with a 101-degree fever. She took Tylenol and rested. After about a day the fever subsided. She still had a headache and cough she felt pressure in her sinuses but had no sniffles. Later in the week, she developed chest pain when she breathed but still didnt think it was COVID-19.
Only six days later did the worst of the symptoms hit.
I was sleeping 19 hours a day. I felt nauseous. When Id get up to go to the kitchen, Id run out of breath. It was like I was doing exercises, but Id only walked the distance of the room, she said from her home in Los Altos, California.
I couldnt really take a deep breath. I didnt feel like I had enough air in my lungs, she said.
Ruiz had another set of symptoms appearing in some of those infected. “I lost taste, food wasnt appetizing, I couldnt smell anything,” she said.
While it’s unknown how many people infected experience a loss of sense of smell, called anosmia, or a loss of taste known as ageusia, doctors are finding the symptoms reported by some COVID-19 patients.
It was the shortness of breath that finally triggered Ruiz doctor to test her. She learned Sunday she was positive for the coronavirus. .
Ruiz is pretty sure she got it from her mother-in-law, who got sick a week before her and went on to develop pneumonia. She was admitted to the hospital, put on oxygen and recovered after a few days and is now quarantined in her apartment.
Fever And Headache Pain
A fever is a rise in your body temperature. This can happen when your body is fighting an infection. Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites can cause infections.
Other illnesses and inflammation can also trigger a fever. You might have a fever if your body temperature is higher than 98.6°F . A fever can lead to changes in your body that may lead to a headache.
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Skin Problems After Covid
If you had skin problems while you were sick with COVID-19, they can last for months after your illness. Its also possible to get a rash after youve recovered from COVID-19. The following are the most common skin problems that can happen during and after COVID-19:
- Rashes If you have a COVID-19 rash after recovery, you may have large areas of inflamed skin that appear suddenly as smooth raised areas this type of rash is known as hives. You may also have a widespread rash with tiny lumps or blisters that can be itchy or scaly.
- COVID toes Getting sick with COVID-19 may have caused your toes and fingers to become tender and look darker than the rest of your skin. If you have lighter skin, your toes and fingers may even look purple. Because this condition mostly happens to toes, its generally referred to as COVID toes.
Shortness Of Breath Cough Fatigue & Weight Loss
Shortness of breath, weight loss, cough and fatigue by themselves are relatively common symptoms in a large variety of medical conditions. When all four are combined, they don’t fit in with many different medical medical conditions. If you experience all four of these symptoms together, see your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible. The conditions these symptoms indicate are serious and require prompt treatment.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Sore Throat And Headache
When you have a sore throat, you may have:
- Pain or scratchiness in your throat.
- Pain thats worse when you speak or swallow.
- Hoarse voice.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck .
- Red or swollen tonsils with white spots on them.
Your headache symptoms may include pain that:
- Comes on slowly.
- Feels dull and aching.
- Affects both sides of your head.
Its also not unusual to have fatigue with sore throat and headache. Fatigue, chills and muscle aches are all symptoms of viral and bacterial infections.
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Managing Symptoms At Home
If you have acute bronchitis:
- get plenty of rest
- drink lots of fluid this helps prevent dehydration and thins the mucus in your lungs, making it easier to cough up
- treat headaches, a high temperature, and aches and pains with paracetamol or ibuprofen although ibuprofen is not recommended if you have asthma
- try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities
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Do Colds Flu And Covid
Colds and flu tend to cause wet, productive coughs when youre sick. Later, dry coughs may linger during recovery.
It can take a while for inflammation from respiratory infections to go away. During this time, the lungs and airways may be extra sensitive to inhaled irritants. This sensitivity can make your throat more ticklish, causing you to cough.
Most people who get sick with COVID-19 have dry coughs not wet coughs like with the cold or flu. However, wet coughs can also happen with COVID-19 infections. Your healthcare provider may recommend a COVID-19 test to identify the cause of the cough.
Why Does My Chest Hurt When I Cough
When you have an unproductive dry cough, you essentially cough up air. A dry cough that is very vigorous or lasts longer than three weeks can strain your lungs or chest muscles. You may develop chest pain with the cough.
Most people have a feeling of chest tightness with a dry cough. You may feel a squeezing sensation in the chest or pressure, like theres a weight on your chest.
Sudden, unexplained chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack. You should seek immediate medical care.
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When Should You Be Worried About A Dry Cough As A Sign Of Covid
If you have trouble breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, new confusion, blue lips, or cannot stay awake, seek medical attention ASAP.
If you develop a dry cough, its very possible that you could simply be dealing with allergies, being inside all day , or other environmental factors.
But it may also be pointing to COVID-19so its important to pay attention to other signs of the virus, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those symptoms can include but are not limited to:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Nausea or vomiting
Again, you dont necessarily need to have a dry cough in order to have COVID-19. Its usually a dry cough, but a productive one can also occur, Richard Watkins, M.D., an infectious disease physician and professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University.
Any cough thats linked with a fever over 100.4° F should be concerning, Dr. Parikh says. Ditto if you happen to develop a cough without a fever and youre not sure whats causing it, says Thomas Russo, M.D., professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York. If you have a cough or any of the symptoms of COVID-19, its really best to test yourself, just to be safe, Dr. Russo says, whether you do it with an at-home test, your doctors office, or a testing facility.