Written by Dr. Rachna Kucheria (MBBS MAMC New Delhi, MD AIIMS New Delhi, MD (Family Medicine) USC California), one of the best general physicians in Delhi NCR.
As a General Physician offering online tele consultations, this is most common question patients ask me: how do I know if my symptoms are Covid 19? What are symptoms of COVID?
Honestly, there is no way to confirm without a proper diagnosis and a test. Most important is to consult first with a doctor online or in person.
Symptoms of Covid
Usually COVID19 starts (and stays) with these common symptoms like fever, flu, cold, cough, fatigue, which are common to many other non-covid diagnoses. Other symptoms of Covid could be
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
As would be obvious to most people – these can be hard to differentiate from illnesses like: common cold/flu/early sinus infection/bronchitis, to name a few.
What should I do?
Most important is not to self diagnose. Best is to immediately consult with a doctor online in India or in person. After doing a tele consultation (at a very minimum), I usually advise people to get tested for COVID 19 and check their oxygen level at home. The test will give me the diagnosis (with 60-80% accuracy) and the oxygen level is one of the most critical objective measurements that people can do in their own homes. If this level remains above 94% without other red flags* most people can recover in their own homes, under the guidance of a doctor.
The COVID test should ideally be done after day 4 of symptoms upto day 6 or 7, this increases the chance of a an accurate test result (lowers the false negative rate). During this time, the person with the illness should ideally isolate themselves from the rest of the family. It is important to be in touch with a doctor or government health center.
We call certain symptoms “red flags” which means that a person should directly go to a hospital/ Emergency if they have any of these symptoms without waiting for a doctor consult or test. These are:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
- Oxygen level less than 94%
- Feeling very sick
*Please note that this list is a broad guide and is not all possible symptoms.
Consult a General Physician
To reiterate this important point once again. Whilst we are in the middle of a pandemic, do not ignore any symptoms and do not self-diagnose. Better to do a quick online consult in India (or in person consult) with a doctor and take their advice. Also, doctors do keep a low threshold for the diagnosis of Covid and get a test at the slightest suspicion – both to get treatment as well as to isolate and halt the march of the virus.
Stay safe, stay well. If you feel any of these symptoms, monitor yourself closely and be sure to get tested!
Watch the below interview of Dr. Rachna Kucheria on NDTV on Covid
About the author
Dr. Rachna Kucheria is one of the best general physicians in Delhi NCR. She is a US- trained physician (Family Practice) on the lines of the old-fashioned ‘Family Doctor’ we grew up with and hope to find again. Her emphasis on early, accurate diagnosis; appropriate (few) medicines; and clear patient communication, sets her apart as one of the most trusted physicians in Delhi. She is licensed to practice medicine both in India & California. Her 27 years of experience includes practicing in the hospital, clinic and (patient) home setting, and for the last 4 years, telemedicine.
DocGenie is an online telemedicine platform that provides you with quality healthcare from the best doctors in the comfort of your own space. On DocGenie, you will find a select few, highly-qualified doctors, unlike other online platforms with thousands of doctors. So you can be assured of receiving excellent, honest, personalized care from the best professionals.