In early 2020, before vaccines and variants, you knew you needed to get emergency care if you had COVID-19 and your symptoms were severe. So many things have changed — and then changed again — that we thought it would be helpful to review what requires urgent care if you have COVID-19 now, in the summer of 2022.
The staff at Carolina Urgent Care, led by Dr. Wilby Kurian, provides urgent care for the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, community. If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, especially if you have significant risk factors for severe disease, we encourage you to continue reading and learn the signs that should send you to seek urgent care.
If you know that you’ve been exposed, or you begin to show symptoms at all, you should take a rapid test. If that test is positive, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following steps:
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is spread through respiration. When someone who has the virus breathes out, microscopic droplets enter the air. If you breathe those droplets in, you may become infected.
In early 2020, most guidance suggested staying at least six feet from other people in order to avoid breathing in their exhalations. We know now that six feet is often not far enough, and that the respiratory droplets can linger in the air for quite some time.
Additionally, current variants are far more transmissible than earlier ones. That means it’s much easier for you to contract the virus.
In the early days of the pandemic, most people knew that shortness of breath and loss of taste and smell were common symptoms. Although those can still be symptoms, they’re less common. The range of symptoms people with COVID-19 may have is quite large and includes:
Not everyone who has COVID-19 has these symptoms, and these aren’t all of the symptoms you may have. The range of symptoms and high transmissibility of the variants that are currently circulating make testing especially important.
You may be surprised by how bad you can feel if you have numerous symptoms! When doctors describe a case of COVID-19 as “mild,” patients are often surprised. However, there are warning signs that require urgent care, including:
Anyone with COVID-19 has some risk of developing severe symptoms, even those who are vaccinated or who have had it before. However, some people have an increased risk.
If you’re pregnant or have a chronic health condition such as heart disease or diabetes, you should be extra cautious in monitoring your symptoms. Regardless of your health status, we’re happy to answer your questions by phone or in person. If you need urgent care to treat COVID-19, we can make an appointment for you, or you can simply come to our clinic.