Coronavirus new strain symptoms: Three signs your Covid infection is life-threatening

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Mutations of coronavirus continue to threaten the vaccine rollout, with fears that a new strain from Nigeria could be the latest to evade antibodies. It is becoming clear that the threat posed by COVID-19 will linger in society long after the population is inoculated. This places renewed importance on recognising the symptoms of coronavirus, of which there are many.

The symptoms of coronavirus fall into different categories, which are largely based on their severity status.

According to Dr Luke Pratsides, frontline worker and lead GP at men’s health clinic Numan, the majority of people infected with Covid will experience at least one of the milder symptoms, such as a fever, cough and loss of sense of smell.

However, as he explained to, some people can develop more severe, and even life-threatening illnesses.

“If things are going to get worse then deterioration usually occurs around day 10 after the initial onset of Covid symptoms,” he said.

“Therefore, day eight to day 10 is a particularly crucial time to be looking out for deterioration in Covid illness.”

So, what should you be looking for?

Dr Pratsides explained: “The best gauge of whether Covid symptoms are deteriorating is worsening shortness of breath and the degree at which you are able to perform normal daily activities, washing, dressing, cooking, moving up stairs and between rooms at home.”

If you start to become breathless after these activities but recover with rest, this suggests a more severe Covid illness, he warned.

In this event, it is a good idea to seek medical advice from your GP or the NHS 111 service, advised Dr Pratsides.

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“Your GP can organise regular remote review and in some cases home oxygen monitoring,” explained.

“With medical support those with more severe Covid illness have a good chance of making a full recovery.”

However, there are a cluster of symptoms that can signal your infection has reached crisis point.

“If you start to become breathless at rest, are unable to complete a full sentence without stopping for breath or feel dizzy or faint then these signs suggest your Covid illness is critical,” warned Dr Pratsides.

What could these symptoms mean?

Dr Pratsides explained: “These signs mean you are no longer getting enough oxygen and could be experiencing acute respiratory distress syndrome, a life threatening condition characterised by severe lung inflammation.”

According to Dr Pratsides, if you are experiencing these critical signs it is important to seek immediate medical help by calling 999.

“Even with critical Covid, if you get hospital treatment quickly you have a chance of survival and recovery.”

How should I respond to mild symptoms?

If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus, get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.

You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • You’re worried about your symptoms
  • You’re not sure what to do.

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