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Medical Monday: COVID Symptoms

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 11:50 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -

COVID has very similar symptoms to colds, the flu or even seasonal allergies. So, how do you know if you have it? Or when should you go to a hospital? Dr. Erik St. Pierre of Northern Maine Medical Center explains:

The symptoms that are really going to be specific to COVID would be lack of taste and smell, would be one of the things that kind of identifies that. The problem that we have right now, we have a lot of mixture with influenza and we have other respiratory viruses that are going on. So, the other cough, cold, fevers, all that could be confusing things a little bit.

Once you have actually made the diagnosis that you have COVID by either home test, PCR or hospital, the things that should bring you to the hospital from what we’re seeing would be one, if you’re having respiratory difficulties. Most of the time you can get these little pulse oximeter monitors that you put on your finger. So, if your pulse oximeter reading goes down below 70% and stays there consistently, then that would be a reason to come to the hospital from a respiratory standpoint.

The other thing that we’re seeing a lot of is hydration. People have a tendency of getting a lot of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, they don’t feel like eating, so they get very dry and dehydrated. So, if you’re not able to keep a lot of foods down and you’re feeling weak, you get lightheaded and dizzy, that may be a time to come to the emergency department.

And thirdly, we’ve got to remember that COVID has a tendency to make blood clotting easier. And if you make blood clotting easier, that makes you at higher risk of developing heart attacks, strokes and specifically blood clots to the lung.

So, anybody that’s developing shortness of breath with chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, pain in your legs where you might have a swollen leg or something. That would definitely be probably one of the most urgent things to come to the hospital for.

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