10 Covid symptoms that warrant urgent medical attention: ministry guide

By Thuy Quynh   August 27, 2021 | 05:59 pm PT
10 Covid symptoms that warrant urgent medical attention: ministry guide
Doctors at a Covid-19 resuscitation hospital treat a male patient. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen
Breathing difficulty, erratic pulse and low blood pressure are among 10 signs that a Covid-19 patient needs to receive medical help, according to the Ministry of Health.

A guide on how to manage patients in their own home, recently issued by the ministry, lists several signs to look for when self-isolated, with each requiring immediate medical intervention, and patients should report them to medical authorities to be hospitalized swiftly.

The first symptom is breathing difficulty with shallow and noisy breaths or pulsating nostrils.

The second is quickened respiratory rates of more than 21 breaths a minute for adults, 40 for children aged up to five and more than 30 for children aged five to 12.

The third is low oxygen saturation level, with an SpO2 of below 95 percent. If a low oxygen level is detected, a second measurement should be done around 30 seconds or a minute later at the same site for confirmation. Pulse oximeters could be used to measure SpO2 levels.

The fourth is erratic pulse of either more than 120 beats per minute or less than 50 beats.

The fifth is low blood pressure, with an upper value (systolic) of below 90 mmHg or a lower value (diastolic) of below 60 mmHg.

The sixth is constant chest pain and a feeling of constriction or pain during a deep breath.

The seventh is cognitive changes. Patients might start to feel drowsy, confused and fatigued. Young children might cry and wail and even experience seizures.

The eighth is discoloration of the lips, nails and skin, and a cold feeling in the body's extremities.

The ninth, particularly in children, is vomiting and inability to be breastfed. Systemic inflammation signs like high fever, blushed lips and tongues, rashes and hives can also occur.

The 10th is the presence of acute diseases like hemorrhagic fever or hand, foot, mouth disease.

Besides these, any abnormal signs which one believes warrant medical intervention should also be reported.

For treating Covid at home, the guide says patients should use antipyretics like paracetamol if they experience fevers of above 38.5 degrees Celsius or have head or body ache. Electrolytes can be used to rehydrate the body.

One paracetamol pill could be taken every 4-6 hours, and not more than four a day. Adults can take a 0.5 g pill, while children can be given 10-15 mg for each kilogram they weigh.

If two courses of antipyretics do not bring the fever down, patients should promptly contact health authorities.

"Medicine package for Covid-19 patients" campaign aims to support patients self-isolating at home. Each donation worth VND380,000 ($16.65) can help buy medicine for one patient. For more information regarding donation methods, kindly refer to this link.

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