When to go to hospital if you think you have coronavirus symptoms – The Sun

FOR most people who develop the main symptoms of coronavirus of a dry cough and high temperature – all they'll need to do is self-isolate for at least seven days and rest up. 

However, for an estimated one in five people with the illness, hospital care will prove necessary.

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Currently, the NHS is urging people not to go to their GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital and to stay at home – to curb the spread of the disease and protect others.

Despite this, some people will need to seek medical attention to treat their symptoms of the deadly bug.

And while most people will have mild symptoms, more severe symptoms can come on quite quickly and it’s important to know when to seek help.

When should I go to hospital?

According to Dr Sarah Jarvis, clinical director of Patientaccess.com, there are five key reasons you should get medical attention if you develop signs of Covid-19…

  1. You are rapidly becoming more breathless, even at rest.
  2. You cannot manage basic things like showering, eating, watching TV or reading.
  3. You start becoming confused.
  4. You cannot speak in whole sentences without taking extra breaths.
  5. You are one of the 1.5 million people who has been advised to ‘shield’ to protect themselves.

The Government guidance is that people who are over 70, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant should be 'shielding' themselves.

People with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis, cancer patients, those with primary immunodeficiencies and individuals with a severe disease of a body system fall under the 'underlying health condition' category.


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Dr Jarvis adds that if you’re not sure whether you need to go to hospital, you should speak to a healthcare professional you should call NHS 111 or use the NHS 111 online service.

Ultimately, if you’re worried about any symptoms and they’re becoming worse, not better, don’t be afraid to seek help.

When should I call 999?

For more urgent cases and if you have a medical emergency you should call 999 for an ambulance and notify the operator that you – or the person you're caring for – have or think you might have, Covid-19.

The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) says emergency warning signs for Covid-19 include…

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

Patients who are usually older or have a pre-existing health conditions are normally the people who experience difficulty breathing – known as dyspnea.

Signs that a person is experiencing dyspnea include shortness of breath, feeling smothered or suffocated, tightness in the chest, rapid, shallow breathing, heart palpitations and wheezing.

Patients with severe cases of coronavirus may also develop signs of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

According to the NHS, this is a life-threatening condition where the lungs can't provide the body's vital organs with enough oxygen.

ARDS occurs when the lungs become severely inflamed due to an infection or injury and the inflammation causes fluid from nearby blood vessels to leak into the tiny air sacs in your lungs, making breathing increasingly difficult.

Symptoms of ARDS can include severe shortness of breath, rapid, shallow breathing, tiredness, drowsiness or confusion and feeling faint.

About 15 per cent of cases develop this, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anyone who thinks they’ve been fighting coronavirus and has ended up with symptoms of ARDS should also call an ambulance.

How do I treat symptoms of Covid-19?

Currently, there is no vaccine to protect people against the virus.

Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses – only bacteria.

Doctors say mild or moderate symptoms can be managed at home by getting rest, keeping hydrated and taking paracetamol where necessary.

Some people might not even show any symptoms of coronavirus at all, experts say.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK's chief scientific adviser, said: "It looks quite likely that there is some degree of asymptomatic transmission.

"There’s definitely quite a lot of transmission very early in the disease when there are very mild symptoms."

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