Coronavirus symptoms: Four symptoms that require immediate medical attention

Coronavirus death toll surpassed the 10,000 mark at the weekend, an escalation described as a “sombre” moment by the health secretary Matt Hancock in the daily press briefing yesterday. As the lockdown stretches on indefinitely, large parts of the population will become desensitised to these figures and the measures will start to seem disproportionate. The Prime Minister Boris seemed to be acutely aware of this growing discontent in a video he shared on Twitter yesterday, which marked the beginning of his return to official duties.


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The PM’s message was clear: the social distancing measures must be abided by if the UK is to flatten the curve.

One area that is frustrating the public’s effort to abide by the social distancing measures is critical gaps in knowledge around symptoms.

People are being advised to self-isolate if they experience mild symptoms but it is less clear when symptoms constitute a medical emergency.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided some clarity on this issue, however.

According to the CDC, there are four emergency signs to watch out for.

These are:

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

The health body notes: “This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.”

In the UK, if you are unsure as to the severity of your symptoms and what to do about them, health bodies are advising people to use the 111 online coronavirus service.

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What are the main mild symptoms?

According to the NHS, you must not leave your home if you have either a high temperature or a new, continuous cough.

The health body says a high temperature means feeling hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).

A new, continuous cough means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).

According to the World Health Organization,

Other symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Aches and pains
  • Sore throat
  • and very few people will report diarrhoea, nausea or a runny nose.


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UK health bodies are urging everyone to self-isolate for seven days from the moment they experience mild symptoms.

If you are self-isolating, you must:

  • Not leave your home for any reason – if you need food or medicine, order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
  • Not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
  • You can use your garden, if you have one.

It has also been stated that any exercise should be taken at home.

According to the NHS, after seven days, if you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to self-isolate

“If you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal,” explains the health site.

Although, you do not need to self-isolate if you just have a cough after seven days, notes the health body.

it adds: “A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.”

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