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What to Expect from a Positive Covid-19 Test

What to Expect from a Positive Covid-19 Test
Kevin Cleary

With a vaccine finally on the horizon, we still need to be diligent in our defense against Covid-19 or coronavirus. Unfortunately, approximately 40% of coronavirus cases are asymptomatic, which means many people don’t even know they have it. Therefore, it is still vitally important to wear our masks and socially distance from one another, but what happens if you contract the virus and start experiencing symptoms? Seemingly, this virus does have some progressive steps that those who contract it may experience. We here at HPFY can outline some of these symptoms in a day by day progression.

Exactly What Is Covid-19?

In case you have been living in a cave for the last 10-11 months, what exactly is this thing called Covid-19? Coronavirus is a family of viruses such as the common cold, SARS, and MERS. The latest coronavirus (Covid-19) is a new strain that previously had not been seen in humans. It attacks the respiratory system much like other coronavirus but seems to be incredibly contagious and deadly. Health officials recommend that we stay home as much is humanly possible and wear masks when we do need to go out. We should also socially distance ourselves from others (6 feet apart) and avoid large gatherings in order to minimize the risk of spreading this deadly virus.

How Covid-19 Progresses

Testing is a great tool in dealing with the spread of Covid-19. Understanding where the virus is can be the first and most important step in mitigating an outbreak. With positivity rates climbing in just about every state, what should you expect from the virus if you test positive? Studies in both China and the US have discovered a trend as to how this disease progresses. Some symptoms you may experience include:

  • Fever
  • Dry Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Lethargy
  • Chest Tightness
  • Nausea and Diarrhea


Try our newly added iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kit



These symptoms typically start appearing 2-14 days after exposure and the study from Johns Hopkins gives a five-day median average for symptoms to appear. While a large percentage of people recover from coronavirus, certain demographics are at a higher risk of more serious health issues. Age is a major risk factor in dealing with this virus that can lead to major complications and even death. A day by day progression can look a lot like this:

Day 1: At the onset of the virus, sufferers commonly experience a fever and a dry cough. This appears in roughly 80% of those infected with the coronavirus. Muscle aches and pains may also appear. A Chinese study showed that approximately 10% experienced nausea and diarrhea before symptoms appeared.

Days 2-4: Much like influenza, during these days symptoms linger. A fever and dry cough may be the only symptoms experienced at this time. It was approximately at day 3 that a study in China found that hospitalized patients developed pneumonia.

Day 5: This is when breathing difficulties seem to appear. Shortness of breath and congestion are especially likely to happen due to pre-existing conditions (such as COPD or asthma) or if the person is of advanced age.

Day 6: As breathing difficulty persists, fever and dry cough are still prevalent and many patients experience chest tightening as if constricted with a band around their chest.

Day 7: It is around day seven that those with mild symptoms may start seeing improvement, but for those with a more severe case this is when hospitalizations occur due to respiratory problems and chest pain. Shortness of breath and a bluish lips/face can be a sign that a hospital visit is necessary.

Day 8: The Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say this is when approximately 15% of Covid-19 patients develop Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). According to the Mayo Clinic, ARDS is when fluid accumulates in the alveoli (tiny elastic air sacs) in the lungs. This limits the amount of oxygen in the lungs, and therefore, less oxygen into your bloodstream and to your organs. This is bad!!

Day 10: Patients still suffering from respiratory issues may find that if symptoms linger or worsen, and intensive care unit (ICU) stay may be necessary.

Day 12: According to studies out of China, this is when many people saw a reduction in their fever, but the dry cough may still persist.

Days 13-14: This is roughly when those who survive Covid-19 generally are seeing a reduction in their respiratory issues. Chest tightness and cough may be subsiding.

Day 18: The bad news is for those who do not survive this ordeal the average number of days is 18.5 from the onset of symptoms until death.

A Prevention and Recovery Tool

Once a positive diagnosis has been delivered, treatment to avoid Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) can be lifesaving. So what tools do you have at your disposal? There are many different types of respiratory therapies that can be used to strengthen respiratory muscles to help combat this potentially deadly virus. One great option is:

The Breather Respiratory Muscle Training Device: This inspiratory/expiratory device activates and strengthens the muscles you use for breathing, speech, and swallowing. It is a lightweight and drug-free pulmonary and speech therapy device that improves breathlessness and coordination of speech and swallowing. It promotes diaphragmatic breathing and is adjustable with independent pressure settings. It targets the diaphragm, internal/external intercostals, and abdominals. This can improve blood flow and improved respiratory functions.


How long does it take for symptoms of the coronavirus disease to appear?

Time progression for symptoms of the coronavirus disease to appear

According to a CDC report, those who contracted Covid-19 reported that symptoms typically resolve themselves in 4-8 days. Unfortunately, for those who experienced a more severe case these symptoms worsened roughly 5-10 days after symptoms first developed. This can lead to hospitalization and even the need for a respirator during hospitalization. As our healthcare officials have stated, it is these visits to the hospital that are a major cause of concern. With more positive cases, our hospital system and ICUs are being overrun by sick coronavirus patients. We must heed the advice of the health experts and maintain our diligence through masking and social distancing and avail yourself to a vaccine ASAP. Stay safe and healthy!!


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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