Is It COVID-19? What to Do If You Develop a Cough That Doesn’t Get Better
For some, a chronic cough might be par for the course. You may seem to get symptoms around the same time every year, but not have a diagnosis of seasonal allergies. You may seem to always develop a cough when the weather changes or when a storm comes on, or you might have a smoker’s cough. But if you develop a new cough, especially now, you need to be evaluated.
The first symptoms of COVID-19
A sore throat and mild cough are the first symptoms of the coronavirus, and they are often overlooked. Even if you can explain away your cough by some other means, you should have any new or worsening cough checked by a doctor. They may ask you additional screening questions to determine if you need to be tested, or they may have you come in for an examination.
Beyond a sore throat and cough, additional symptoms you may experience with COVID-19 include:
- Severe nasal congestion/runny nose
- Fever over 100.3
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Loss of taste or smell
You may have additional symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea as well.
How long do I wait?
While you don’t want to bother your doctor for every little cough, you also shouldn’t put off getting a diagnosis. If you have a new cough that lasts more than a few days, you should contact us for a telemedicine appointment. We will be able to ask you screening questions to determine if you need to be tested for the coronavirus, or if you need to be evaluated in person for a diagnosis.
What do I do first?
If you have a new cough and you are waiting for a test result or doctor’s appointment, you should quarantine yourself until you have a negative result. This means you should have any groceries and other necessities delivered with no-contact preventions and isolate yourself from friends and family. You should also stay home from work until you are sure you are well.