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April 7, 2020

Most people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, recover on their own. But it’s important to know when to seek medical attention.

Emergency Care

You or a family member should seek emergency care if you show signs of respiratory or cardiac distress. These include:

  • Labored breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Persistent chest pain or pressure
  • Inability to talk or be roused

If any of the following happen, promptly call 911, alert them to your symptoms and that you suspect you have COVID-19. They’ll tell you whether you need an ambulance or can head to an emergency room on your own.

Higher-Risk Patients

At its worst, COVID-19 causes respiratory distress, which is why you should be on high alert. You are more likely to need emergency care if you’ve already been diagnosed with a lung condition. Those include moderate to severe asthma, emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The same high alert applies to those who’ve had a heart attack, a stroke or an organ transplant. Immunosuppressants or cancer drugs also make you more vulnerable, as do diabetes, obesity or being age 60 or older.

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