QCOSTARICA – Most people who get covid-19 experience it as mild, temporary respiratory infection, with symptoms like coughing, a fever, and shortness of breath; however, five out of every hundred people who catch the new coronavirus get severe pneumonia in both lungs, end up being hospitalized because the symptoms evolve without improvement and worsen the patient’s condition over time.
COVID-19 pneumonia is a serious illness that can be deadly.
How Many People With COVID-19 Will Get Pneumonia? About 15% of COVID-19 cases are severe. That means they may need to be treated with oxygen in a hospital. About 5% of people have critical infections and need a ventilator.
People who get pneumonia may also have a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). It’s a disease that comes on quickly and causes breathing problems.
Covid-19 causes severe inflammation in your lungs. It damages the cells and tissue that line the air sacs in your lungs. These sacs are where the oxygen you breathe is processed and delivered to your blood. The damage causes tissue to break off and clog your lungs. The walls of the sacs can thicken, making it very hard for you to breathe.
What to watch for
Faced with the escalation of hospitalization, doctors request to pay attention to the progressive warning symptoms of pneumonia and act quickly to protect their life, especially because, in the face of any disease, there is always a greater possibility of a better evolution the earlier it is diagnosed and treated.
Dr. Marco Vinicio Boza Hernández, one of the medical-scientific officers for the care of the pandemic at Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) in Costa Rica, recommends being calm first and then activating the alerts for six symptoms as a precautionary measure, since each of them is enough for you to stop whatever you are doing and go to the emergency services.
The two most alarming signs are:
- Shortness of breath. At first, you may feel a feeling of discomfort or pressure in the chest. Then you may feel a sensation of difficult breathing, uncomfortable breathing, or that you are not getting enough air. You may also feel short of breath that wakes you up at night or forces you to sleep on pillows to breathe. Shortness of breath ranges from mild and temporary to severe and prolonged.
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The important thing in covid-19 is to know the affectation goes from mild to severe in hours, so it is better to consult immediately instead of waiting to see how it evolves because it never improves when it is covid-19.
- Persistent or sustained fever. Not everyone with a fever is classified as sick by covid-19. The fever usually lasts one or two days in any respiratory infection. It becomes suspicious when it goes on for three or more days on a sustained basis. Some people report that they began to have a persistent fever within a week of illness. If there is a fever and coronavirus, the symptoms will continue and will tend to worsen. Covid-19 fever tends to appear more gradually. In the case of the flu, the fever is usually high, but very sudden.
Nor should we miss the following symptoms that are cause for a medical consult:
- Severe tiredness or fatigue. This type of fatigue is one that will not go away with rest. Patients have colloquially reported that they feel as if “a steamroller had passed over them,” that is, it is a fatigue that leaves them without action.
- Cold and profuse sweating. It is a sweating pattern, which can occur during the day or at night, which even forces you to change clothes.
- Constant cough. The virus irritates the lung tissue and that causes you to cough more. It is a manifestation of a persistent cough, which prevents you from doing activities.
- Blood oxygen below 92%. If you have a blood oxygen meter – finger oximeter – when the saturation number is below 92%, it is better to consult a doctor, especially in young people. The adequate and healthy percentage of oxygen in the blood is considered to be a number greater than 94%. If this occurs, there may also be shortness of breath.
Dr. Boza points out that people should remain calm before discomforts and observe the symptoms, especially their evolution, to be able to report them to the doctor in the consultation.
In addition, the doctor recommends that the person who lives alone should a plan to get help if needed.