Know what feels normal to you and reporting changes such as fatigue and shortness of breath to your doctor is the best way to stay ahead of coronavirus. Ken Lyn-Kew, MD, is a National Jewish Health pulmonologist and critical care physician who is on the front lines in intensive care units in Denver. He shares insights from the COVID-19 patients he has seen in the hospital.
Dr. Ken Lyn-Kew: If you would ever call the doctor and say, "I don't feel right, I think I need to be checked out," that's when you should go in. Right? For some, that's going to be a little different from person to person. It's going to be a little different based on your underlying disease. But whatever that threshold is, is the same. If you feel short of breath and you don't usually don't feel short of breath, that might be the time to call in.
Dr. Ken Lyn-Kew: If you look through the media, you hear these cases here and there of people who are just suddenly found dead at home with this disease. My guess is these are people that were feeling bad and waited, and waited, and waited. What we've seen in the hospital is that patients will go from looking not great to really bad very quickly. And so, I think that you don't want to go, "I had a fever today, I need to go in." But if you start to feel short of breath or fatigued more so than you did the day before, that would be a good time to check in with the physician, because that fatigue might just be the viral making your muscles ache and just making you feel worn down, but it also could be a sign of my lungs are getting worse, and I'm getting less oxygen, and I really need to be checked out.
Learn more about COVID-19 and how it affects specific health conditions in these printable patient education materials.
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