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How do I know if I have COVID-19 and what are the alarm symptoms?

The most common symptoms at the onset are: fiber, fatigue, dry cough, muscular and general pain, dizziness and dyspnea (lack of air). The less common symptoms are headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomit.1

Patients who are admitted to the intensive care unit are more likely to report throat pain, dyspnea, dizziness, abdominal pain and anorexia.1

It is important to adequately recognize symptoms.  Currently, the transmissibility is considered communitarian (not having traveled to countries with the disease, reason for which, if they present any of the previous symptoms, ought to go to a hospital to start valuation by a trained physician who will decide if a diagnosis is required (remember this decision in based on medical revision).1

To make the diagnosis samples are obtained from the upper respiratory ways (nasal, pharyngeal and nasopharyngeal) and in case of patients where it is considered to get a sample from the lower respiratory tract (greater efficiency for greater viral level, for example sputum (secretion from coughing), tracheal aspiration and bronchoalveolar wash), blood sample and samples from other bodily fluids, to maximize diagnosis possibilities.2

Only some centers are available and others are in the process of validation.  The diagnosis is made by different methods, generally by a specialized test by the method RT-PCR.2

  1. Wang D, Hu B, Hu C, Zhu F, Liu X, Zhang J, et al. Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China. Jama 2020;323:1061. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1585.
  2. Hui DS, Zumla A. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America 2019;33:869–89. doi:10.1016/j.idc.2019.07.001.