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This might be the scariest coronavirus symptom of all

Published Sep 9th, 2020 9:09PM EDT
Coronavirus Symptoms
Image: stnazkul/Adobe

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  • The coronavirus can cause a range of severe flu-like symptoms that can often leave victims in extreme pain and discomfort.
  • One doctor recently said that breathlessness is the symptom she finds to be the scariest of all.
  • One of the more peculiar aspects of the coronavirus is that some survivors tend to experience symptoms even months after making an otherwise healthy recovery.

Though the coronavirus is broadly categorized as a respiratory illness, the past few months have shown that the virus is extremely capable and, in some instances, can attack all of a person’s major organs. This helps explains why the coronavirus has such varied symptoms and why some people who contract it can often endure symptoms so severe that the flu, in contrast, can seem like a walk in the park.

Admittedly, it’s impossible to pinpoint which coronavirus symptom is the worst. After all, how can you weigh the discomfort associated with the chills against the pain caused by a pounding headache? Still, one doctor familiar with a range of coronavirus symptoms recently articulated which one she thinks is the scariest.

Writing for Eat This, Not That, Dr. Deborah Lee explains that breathlessness is the COVID-19 symptom that she finds the most worrisome:

What must it be like to experience acute, severe breathlessness? When I try to imagine this, I think about how it feels when you dive into a swimming pool and swim towards the surface, desperate to take a breath. There’s an excruciating feeling of frantic anticipation about the need to take a breath—a sort of bursting feeling inside your chest. This usually only lasts seconds, because as you break through the surface of the water, you take a huge gasp of air, and instantaneously that frantic need-to-breathe feeling disappears.

But imagine if you felt like that for most of the time—for example, if you had severe COVID pneumonia? Each gasp you manage to take fails to end that desperate feeling away. It’s absolutely, unimaginably distressing.

Indeed, some of the first-person accounts of what it’s like to endure the coronavirus should be reason enough for people to don masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines. One common thread in stories shared by coronavirus survivors is that the virus, at the very worst, can put people in so much pain that they feel like they’re on the cusp of dying.

Equally as concerning is that surviving the coronavirus doesn’t necessarily mean returning back to a pre-corona level of health. A recent research study notes that some recovered coronavirus patients can show signs of lung and heart damage even months after leaving the hospital.

Patients who can’t seem to kick COVID-19 symptoms have come to be known as “long haulers.” Some of the symptoms long haulers tend to experience even months after an otherwise full recovery include: fatigue, cough, congestion, dyspnea, loss of taste and smell, chest pain, and confusion. Interestingly, the list of coronavirus symptoms least likely to linger includes vomiting, fever, and nausea.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.