Cabaero: When mild turns severe

Nini Cabaero
·3 min read

ONE observation about the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country is that the majority of those infected showed only mild symptoms.

They had loss of smell or taste, fatigue and some headache or body ache, but they did not have high fever, shortness of breath, pneumonia or the blood condition that causes the formation of dangerous clots. They are fortunate, but the Sars-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19 has been known to be unpredictable and perplexing. The coronavirus might cause little damage to the body at the start, but it doesn’t mean the infected person cannot progress to having severe symptoms.

As of March 5, 2021, there were 40,074 active Covid-19 cases out of the total nationwide count of 587,704 cases. Of the active cases, 89.7 percent are mild or may not need hospitalization as they can recover in isolation centers or at home. The rest are 5.6 percent without symptoms, 0.77 percent as moderate cases, two percent severe and 1.9 percent critical.

The Covid-19 virus affects people differently. Some do not present symptoms, some have fatigue and loss of smell and taste or other mild symptoms, and some become extremely sick and even die.

Another reason for differences in the severity of Covid-19 illness is related to how the blood reacts when the immune system goes on overdrive. This may result in what doctors call a cytokine storm — an intense and widespread inflammatory response that may damage the liver, blood vessels, kidneys and lungs, and increase formation of blood clots throughout the body, according to a Harvard Medical School report on “Covid-19 basics” at www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-basics. Ultimately, the cytokine storm may cause more harm than the coronavirus itself, the report said.

The cytokine storm is how a person with mild symptoms of Covid-19 may worsen rapidly after several days of illness. A simple blood test would determine if a person with Covid-19 is experiencing a cytokine storm.

When I was in the hospital for Covid-19, part of the treatment was to address the cytokine storm. I had injections over several days of corticosteroids and blood thinner and was attached at one point to a machine to administer Tocilizumab to clean my blood and bring down inflammation. After discharge, I had to continue taking blood thinners for two more months.

A person may have mild symptoms for about one week, then worsen rapidly. The Harvard report said one should call a doctor immediately if the infected person’s symptoms quickly worsen over a short period of time.

For those at home with mild symptoms, don’t think that you’re safe or that your condition may not worsen. You should monitor yourself closely and call a doctor if you have trouble breathing, feel persistent pain or pressure in the chest or become weak.

It’s important to be aware of what can happen next and know what to do when mild symptoms turn severe.