Navigating the many symptoms of COVID-19

One of the most stressful things about COVID-19 is the fact that people can have an array of different symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Those things can make it difficult to navigate your health during a time when it’s so important.

It’s what no one wants to hear, but health officials say our current way of life isn’t ending anytime soon.

“You need to be thinking in the smallest time log is six months and probably a healthier time block to think about is a year,” says Dr. John Lynch, the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Harborview Medical Center.

Another year or more of trying to prevent ourselves and others from getting sick means another year of monitoring your health, which isn’t always easy, as the virus comes with so many common symptoms.

“If you have a new headache, a new sense of fatigue that’s not associated with staying up all night or working very hard for days on end, you have a fever. Those are all things that right now we don’t have other good explanations for besides COVID-19,” says Dr. Lynch. 

Paying attention to symptoms that are new is key. But finding the balance between being vigilant and plain paranoid can sometimes be tricky.

 “Your mind starts playing all these games like, 'Do I have a little bit of a cough?'” says Dr. Dan Diamond, an assistant clinical professor at Washington State University's medical school. 

Dr. Diamond says those feelings can be even more constant if you’ve lost someone close to you from the virus. He recently lost his father-in-law and soon after felt what he thought could be COVID symptoms.

“You know our brains and our bodies are connected to each other, so when we are upset about stuff and worried about stuff you can start experiencing real symptoms, and it gets confusing on what do you do, when do you see the doctor, when you go to urgent care,” says Dr. Diamond.  

To help alleviate some of that stress, the CDC has a COVID self-check tool that can help you decide your next steps if you start to feel a little under the weather.

“If you get yourself psyched out, be nice to yourself because it’s normal. We're not losing our minds, this is a normal response to a very scary disease," Dr. Diamond says.

He says you don’t want to let it consume you, but being concerned, maybe even a little paranoid,  isn’t a bad thing. Right now, thinking about our health this much is just the way it has to be.