Warning Signs of Severe COVID-19: When to See a Doctor

These COVID-19 symptoms suggest it’s time to call 911.

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You’ve been doing a great job of caring for yourself while sick with COVID-19, but you’re starting to notice some troubling signs. You know that COVID-19 can progress to a severe infection, or it can lead to complications like pneumonia or cytokine storm. Before panic sets it, here are the severe COVID-19 symptoms that suggest it’s time to seek out emergency medical care.

Risk Factors for COVID-19 Complications

There are certain medical conditions that can make you more likely to develop COVID-19 complications or severe versions of the infection. These include:

The reason these conditions can cause complications is because they can affect the body’s ability to fight off illnesses and infection. In some cases, the treatments for the conditions may suppress the immune system. For people with chronic lung conditions, they worsen the effects of COVID-19 on the respiratory system.

Along with these medical conditions, older age also increases the risk of COVID-19 progression or complications.

Warning Signs of Severe COVID-19

COVID-19 affects everyone differently. Some have mild symptoms, while others have more serious symptoms, which can become life-threatening and require emergency care.

Warning signs to look out for include:

  • Difficulty waking up or staying awake
  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that won’t go away
  • Confusion
  • A sharp, deep, constant pain in your calf muscle
  • Paler skin (in white people)
  • Color changes in your lips or nail beds
  • A pulse oximeter reading below 95 percent (This is a device that measures the oxygen levels in your blood)

If you notice these signs, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Don’t wait it out, because the complications could be deadly.