Feeling short of breath is a symptom of covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus (Sars-Cov-2). In addition to this sign, dry cough, loss of taste, and fever can also indicate the presence of the virus. However, feeling short of breath can also be associated with other clinical conditions that are not always related to the virus.
Each person will manifest coronavirus infection differently. There are those who seem to have just caught a common cold, while others suffer severe lung damage, which can have fatal consequences. What differs from one case to another is related to the viral load received, the person's general health status, age, and other chronic diseases that the person already has.
Shortness of breath is considered a serious symptom of covid-19 as it indicates that the infection is already working in the lungs. But in addition to that, there are also symptoms of the disease:
– Loss of smell;
– Loss of appetite;
- Sore throat;
– Chest pain;
- Mental confusion;
- Muscle aches;
- Shortness of breath;
– Abdominal discomfort.
In addition to these, the signals can change according to virus mutations. There are reports linking Delta variant infection to symptoms such as a runny nose and sneezing, which were not previously associated with covid-19.
When shortness of breath is a symptom of covid-19 and when it is not
Shortness of breath caused by the new coronavirus can occur progressively or suddenly. It can manifest after little effort or even at rest. If this happens, it is necessary to be aware, because when the shortness of breath is perceived, that is, when the person cannot breathe comfortably, the oxygen saturation levels can drop to less than 90%.
Lack of oxygen in the body is serious as it can deprive the brain of being oxygenated, causing mental confusion and lethargy. In more severe cases, when levels drop to 80% or less, other organs and tissues in the body can be compromised.
Due to the pandemic, it is recommended that the person who experiences shortness of breath, associated or not with other symptoms of covid-19, seek medical attention to undergo a test and be treated appropriately. However, shortness of breath can also indicate other clinical conditions, such as:
- Anxiety crisis;
– Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD);
- Sedentary lifestyle;
- Respiratory diseases;
- Cardiovascular diseases;
- Allergic reaction;
– Pulmonary embolism.
Some imaging tests that can help in the diagnosis of shortness of breath are chest radiography and computed tomography.
Poor oxygenation of our body's cells can trigger serious health problems. Therefore, if you experience this symptom, seek medical attention and avoid contact with other people until you are sure of your diagnosis. This way, you take care of yourself and others.