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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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3 New COVID-19 Symptoms to Watch For

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Author name: Lee Health

On June 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added three symptoms to its COVID-19 list: Congestion/stuffy nose, nausea and diarrhea.

Those three new conditions now join other symptoms identified by the CDC:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

The CDC says these symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure to COVID-19. More symptoms may be added to the list as scientists learn more about the virus.

Remember: Don’t let up now!

As virus numbers spike across the country, it’s more important than ever to be safe and follow guidelines. It’s easy to get complacent – experts call it “disaster fatigue” – and we’re all guilty of it sometimes.

In Healthy News last month, we wrote about how to steel yourself against disaster fatigue. You can read the full blog here, but here are some highlights:

  • Limit your exposure to the news by unplugging at least one hour a day. After all, the average person checks their phone some 150 times a day!
  • Avoid overconsumption of alcohol. We might focus too much on drinking when we’re sheltering at home, but remember: Alcohol is a central nervous depressant. You might drink to lift your spirits, but it will have the opposite effect.
  • Be nice to yourself: Volunteer your unique talents, cut down on sugar intake, exercise more, practice yoga and/or meditate, and get more sleep.

Smoking, grocery stores and common sense

We’re venturing out into public spaces more, which brings to mind this CDC caution: “The more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.”

The novel coronavirus is primarily spread by droplets from someone who is coughing, sneezing or even talking within a few feet away, the CDC says.

Think of the virus like smoke and like being in a room where people are smoking. The more smoke that is in the room, the greater chance the smoke will affect you.

It’s the same with the virus.

“The coronavirus continues to spread easily and sustainably between people,” says Dr. Alex Daneshmand, Lee Health chief quality and patient safety officer. “In general, the more closely a person interacts with others and the longer that interaction, the higher their risk of contracting COVID-19. This is how the virus spreads.”

Of course, the goal is to avoid inhaling as much smoke (virus) as possible when you find yourself in a public space that’s crowded with people, that has poor ventilation and social distancing is lacking.

Some highlights from the CDC's recommendations:

  • When venturing out, keep these items on hand: a cloth face covering, tissues and a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, if possible.
  • Consider how many people you will be interacting with, how difficult it will be to remain 6 feet apart, how long you will be interacting, and if you or anyone in your group is at risk.
  • Consider curb-side pickup or grocery store delivery.
  • Use hand sanitizer after leaving the grocery store, gas station, restaurant or any public area, and thoroughly wash your hands when you get home.
  • Check a restaurant's website or social media to see if they have updated their safety protocols. Call and ask if staff members are wearing masks and gloves.
  • Sit outside at restaurants when possible.
  • Book services at nail and hair salons ahead of time and ask about safety measures.
  • Hosting an event? Consider having the event outside. If that's not possible, think about better ventilation (such as opening a window), maintaining social distancing by moving furniture, and keeping guests away who have been sick or might have been in contact with someone who has been sick in the past two weeks. 
  • Going to one of Southwest Florida's many beautiful parks? Consider a park close to home, don't go if you are sick, and call ahead to check on safety protocols for bathrooms and other facilities.

Remember: These tips may seem repetitive, but officials stress that they are more important now than ever as residents seek to balance getting out and enjoying their lives while still staying safe. 

You can view all the category updates and latest CDC recommendations for your circumstances here.