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How do you decide what counts as a covid symptom


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My stress level is really high right now for lots of reasons. My reactions to stress usually include sleep difficulties, headaches, and GI symptoms.

It’s also the start of the hardest time of the year for DS14 and my FIL allergy wise.  

So, we have lots of things going on that tick boxes on the list of covid symptoms, but covid symptoms with other possible explanations.

We have sort of a protocol laid out where if there are symptoms, we pull the kids from school, I go to work from home, my GFIL goes to my SIL’s (assuming he is not the one with symptoms) etc . . .

But how do we decide where that line is? If we did that for every sniffle from my allergy kid we’d be home till the first hard frost in December and I’d be unemployed.

What are you using to decide?

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One idea is to consider only "NEW" symptoms - so I'm sniffly every day this time of year. If that changes to be more severe, or I get new symptoms, then I would test. 

Mild upset tummy is normal for me several mornings a week. (guessing I have IBS but no diagnosis cause meh), and if it continued beyond the morning for me, I'd consider testing. 

If headache goes away while laying down and resting, likely not covid, just stress. 

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1 minute ago, ktgrok said:

One idea is to consider only "NEW" symptoms - so I'm sniffly every day this time of year. If that changes to be more severe, or I get new symptoms, then I would test. 

Mild upset tummy is normal for me several mornings a week. (guessing I have IBS but no diagnosis cause meh), and if it continued beyond the morning for me, I'd consider testing. 

If headache goes away while laying down and resting, likely not covid, just stress. 

Your stress headaches go away with lying down?  Little jealous here.

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I am looking for deviations from our normal.

Dh and I have fall allergies. Every year. If I have the usual allergy symptoms during the normal time, the pollen level for my allergen is high, and allergy meds alleviate the symptoms, I continue normal,  masked, life.

I get frequent headaches because of cervical spine issues that usually start over night and are worst in the morning. If I have headaches that feel exactly like my normal headaches, are relieved with getting up and moving around and coffee, I  consider it the normal thing.

I would stay home as soon as I have a fever, or feel fatigued and sick, or have symptoms that don't fit my usual pattern.

 

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9 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Your stress headaches go away with lying down?  Little jealous here.

I actually don't get stress headaches, I was sort of guessing. Sorry - that probably makes you more jealous. I get stress back pain if that helps?

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My allergist told me last year that if it was a different symptom than normal and did not respond to medication the same way, get tested. Because if I stayed home with every single COVID symptom, well, I have fall allergies, winter allergies, Spring allergies, and summer allergies.  Although I will say my cinnamon allergy cross contamination/environmental allergen was much reduced by doing online shopping/curbside pick up and not having shared meals/potlucks last fall. 

 

Also, keep a good watch on O2 saturation. Generally if allergies are bad enough to cause a drop in O2 at all, I’m in rescue meds territory-but CoVID can cause drops similar to that seen in pretty severe allergic reactions without other symptoms being bad at all. So. If you normally have O2 sat at 98 when you have minor allergy symptoms but don’t need a rescue inhaler and you’re now at 94 with similar symptoms, get tested. 
 

 

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Just now, Dmmetler said:

My allergist told me last year that if it was a different symptom than normal and did not respond to medication the same way, get tested. Because if I stayed home with every single COVID symptom, well, I have fall allergies, winter allergies, Spring allergies, and summer allergies.  Although I will say my cinnamon allergy cross contamination/environmental allergen was much reduced by doing online shopping/curbside pick up and not having shared meals/potlucks last fall. 

 

Also, keep a good watch on O2 saturation. Generally if allergies are bad enough to cause a drop in O2 at all, I’m in rescue meds territory-but CoVID can cause drops similar to that seen in pretty severe allergic reactions without other symptoms being bad at all. So. If you normally have O2 sat at 98 when you have minor allergy symptoms but don’t need a rescue inhaler and you’re now at 94 with similar symptoms, get tested. 
 

 

Part of the issue is that I don’t feel like I know my kid’s normal.  That sounds like mother of the year, I know but we had two autumns where I was super distracted by his brother or out of town, and then last year was a mess.  Plus he’s hit puberty and his doctors tell me to expect everything to change.

Monitoring O2 is a good idea. 

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I’m glad you asked this. With DS off to university, I’m trying to stress the need for him to watch how he’s feeling—he has an extremely high pain tolerance and doesn’t tend to think symptoms are serious as long as he’s functioning (when he was diagnosed with asthma, his doctor said most people would be feeling half dead, and he was all chipper and saying he felt just fine, as though throwing up during coughing fits was perfectly normal). 
 

Basically I’m repeating to him what others have already mentioned: if your symptoms are normal for you (ie sneezing during fall allergy season) *and* they respond in a typical way (ie taking Zyrtec helps), then you can be quite sure it’s fine. But if they are new, unusual for you symptoms that don’t respond in a predictable way for you, get tested ASAP. I think it’s the best any of us can do, realistically. 
 

 

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2 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

Maybe keep some Binax tests on hand for peace of mind if any symptoms cause you concern? 

Our whole family Binax tests on Sundays before we get together, and my kids will PCR tested weekly at school.  I took an extra Binax a few days ago.  I just feel like I hear a lot about false negatives, so if we had symptoms that I wasn’t sure were stress or allergies, I’d probably want GFIL to go elsewhere and to not see the baby.

Honestly right now my anxiety is high enough that I am not trusting my own judgement.

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