When nearly every headline has the word "coronavirus" in it, every nearby cough or sneeze starts to seem a little suspicious. So when should you see a doctor for coronavirus symptoms, anyway? Medical experts are learning new facts about the virus every day, including more info about which symptoms require medical attention.
First, though, it's helpful to understand more about the basic symptoms of this coronavirus. "Coronavirus symptoms are a constellation of typical viral respiratory symptoms including cough, fever, runny nose, and malaise," Dr. Jennifer Haythe, critical care cardiologist at Columbia University Center, tells Romper. So how can you tell the coronavirus symptoms apart from those of a cold, flu, or even seasonal allergies? It isn't easy. In fact, "there is not much a doctor can use to tell the difference between the [flu or coronavirus] just by presentation," Dr. Mary Mason tells Romper. Mason also notes that there are lab tests to confirm the diagnosis of coronavirus; however, this isn't necessarily a simple procedure. "Most private doctors cannot perform testing in the U.S. at this time," says Haythe. You'd need to see the appropriate authorities for testing, she explains.
But if it's tricky to tell the difference between coronavirus and the flu, are you supposed to call your doctor after every coughing fit? The experts also have advice on how to walk the line between vigilance and unnecessary panic. For the most part, "it is important to remember that, at this time, there is not widespread community transmission of the virus in the United States. The risk is currently very low," Dr. John Schieffelin, a pediatric infectious disease specialist from Tulane University School of Medicine, tells Romper. And even if you do happen to contract coronavirus, it isn't necessarily going to be a severe illness. In fact, "information available at this time suggests that as many as 85% of adults, if not more, have mild symptoms that don't require hospitalization," says Schieffelin. The majority of people who catch the virus appear to get through the illness with relatively few issues.
With that in mind, there are also some potential coronavirus symptoms that require medical attention. If you or a loved one experience the following health issues, then contact a medical professional.