COVID-19 signs and symptoms: What you need to know

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As COVID-19 spreads, doctors are learning more about the virus and its symptoms. One symptom may be a warning sign.

Doctors say coughing, fever and shortness of breath remain the most common symptoms, but before that, many people are experiencing a loss of taste and smell, a symptom they say you should take seriously.

“It does seem like a significant number of people with COVID-19 develop this symptom one or two days before the fever and respiratory symptoms start,” said Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom, assistant professor in UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases. “So I think that’s really important to pay attention to if you have it.”

Dionne-Odom said if you contract COVID-19 and have to stay home, you can handle the virus the same way as a bad cold or the flu.

“So that means getting enough sleep, making sure that you’re eating and drinking when you can and that you’re keeping yourself separated from other people who don’t have symptoms as much as possible,” she said.

But there’s a common sign that things are progressing: severe pneumonia. It’s a symptom seen in many people who ultimately die from the virus.

“What they ended up having is a very severe form of pneumonia,” Dionne-Odom said. “So they were difficult to oxygenate, difficult to get enough oxygen into their body. And some of them, at the very end, ended up having heart problems, also.”

Doctors say if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, you should call your healthcare provider for guidance.


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