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One of the biggest questions people have had the last few weeks is whether a symptom they’re having is COVID-19 or something else. A runny nose … sore throat … chest pain.

You should never ignore chest pain from any cause. If you have sudden onset of chest pain, call 911. Chest pain from a heart attack typically feels like pressure or a squeezing sensation, but it can vary from person to person.

The challenge is that chest pain from anxiety and even COVID-19 can feel similar to heart pain – but with important differences.

Anxiety-related chest pain typically comes out of the blue. You’ll likely have a racing heart rate as well. You may even feel like it’s hard to breathe. The sudden nature of this type of pain suggests anxiety. However, these same symptoms can occur with heart pain. Sudden chest pain that lasts longer than a minute deserves an immediate call to your doctor or 911. Let your doctor figure out if it’s anxiety or heart related.

The chest pain from COVID-19 would not come on suddenly. The symptoms of COVID-19 develop typically over a few days, similar to other viral infections. So if you feel fine otherwise, it’s unlikely coronavirus. But if you’ve been sick for a few days and feel really bad now, your chest pain could very well be COVID-19. If you’re having shortness of breath, call your doctor right away.

There are plenty of reasons to be anxious right now, but there’s also a lot you have control over. If the stress is getting to you, take a few minutes each day (several times a day) to practice deep breathing exercises.

It bears repeating. Any time you have persistent chest pain and you’re not sure what it is, there’s no question what to do. Get immediate medical help. Don’t spend time trying to figure out what’s causing it.

If you have questions or concerns call 316-686-5300 to schedule an appointment.


*WebMD Michael Smith, MD


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Wichita, KS 67212

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Ste 101
Derby, KS 67037

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Newton, KS 67114

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Wesley Medical Center
Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER
Via Christi Hospital St. Francis
Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph
Via Christi Hospital St. Teresa
Kansas Medical Center
Robert Dole VA Medical Center
Kansas Heart Hospital

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