Coronavirus symptoms: Key sign in your breathing that could signal COVID-19

Coronavirus symptoms are listed by the NHS as a high temperature and a new, continuous cough. But since the start of the pandemic, a range of other symptoms have been brought to light by people unlucky enough to have had the virus. Healthy 23-year-old Peter Hennessey has described his experience of COVID-19, highlighting a key symptom in his breathing.


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In an article for Lincolnshire Live, Peter said his symptoms began with a terrible night’s sleep.

He said: “I woke up and immediately knew something was wrong.

“After taking some paracetamol I hoped my temperature would go down, but I soon realised I wasn’t breathing as normal which raised alarm bells and got me thinking about coronavirus.

“I tried to carry on with work but just felt worse and worse as the day went on, and thought maybe I needed some rest.”

Peter experienced waves of illness – for an hour he would feel hot and experienced shortness of breath.

He went on to describe a key sign in his breathing: “The only way I could really describe my breathing and the effect it was having was that it was like there was a weight on my chest at all times.

“I was having to focus on every breath, which meant I couldn’t really get up off my bed.

“I had a slight cough too.”

For smell periods of time, Peter would begin to feel better again.

But shortly after his breathing would become worse again and he could feel his temperature rising.

Peter added: “One of the things I struggled with most was the lack of sleep – during the first 48 hours of feeling under the weather, I got next to none. I couldn’t get comfortable and my symptoms felt even worse overnight.

“I had much less of an appetite too. I mad myself eat a proper meal on the Sunday night, but for the rest of the weekend I wasn’t having much at all – a cereal bar or some toast and that was it.”


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Luckily, Peter never got to the stage where he was unable to find his next breath and have to go to hospital.

He added: “I can only imagine how stressful and traumatic that is for everyone involved.

“From what I have read, it affects everyone differently. Some feel awful for weeks, other have no symptoms whatsoever – and others become critically ill.

“Now, only a few days later, I feel as though I’m nearly back to normal again. The only lingering reminder of my illness is still a slight heaviness in my chest, which appears to be slowly easing back to normal as time passes.”

Dr Claudia Pastides, a GP working with online private doctor app Babylon, told Huffington Post you should seek medical advice if you develop an increasing shortness of breath – finding normal things difficult to do without feeling breathless.

The NHS advises if you’re struggling to breathe or have sudden shortness of breath to call 999.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also says you should get medical attention immediately if you experience trouble breathing and have persistent pain or pressure in the chest.

If you suspect coronavirus, your symptoms aren’t severe, and want to find out what to do, use the 111 online coronavirus service. 

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