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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptoms Listed and Explained

Some new coronavirus symptoms have been discovered recently. COVID-19 has similar symptoms to the cold and flu so you need to be able to tell the difference.
Zahrah A
29 March 2020

Symptoms of COVID-19 can start to display anywhere for two to 14 days after you've contracted the virus. The main two symptoms that are emphasised are a new persistent cough and a temperature/fever.

Coronavirus Symptom #1: Fever

The fever is known as a key symptom. You don't have to fixate on the number but note you don't have a fever until you reach 100°F (37.7°C). When you're checking for a fever, don't rely on your temperature from the morning / early in the day. If you take your temperature in the late afternoon / early evening, you may find that your temperature will be higher if you do have a virus. This is "a common way that viruses produce fever", according to Dr John Williams, chief of the division of paediatric infectious diseases at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre.

Coronavirus Symptom #2: Cough

This is another key coronavirus symptom. You cough once in public and everyone immediately starts to avoid you. However, it isn't just any cough that indicates COVID-19. The cough should be a dry cough that you feel in your chest.

There is no tickle in your throat, you're not putting anything out or coughing anything out. The specific cough should be "bothersome", says Dr William Schaffner, a professor of preventative medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville. As well as this, he said that the cough is coming from your breastbone or sternum. With this cough, you can tell that your bronchial tubes are inflamed or irritated.

Coronavirus Symptom #3: Shortness of Breath

This coronavirus symptom is very serious. Shortness of breath can be developed even if you do not have a cough. If you find that your chest becomes tight and you feel that you cannot breathe as deep enough to get a good breath, it's time to seek medical attention. American Association president, Dr Patrice Harris says, "If there's any shortness of breath immediately call your health care provider, local urgent care or the emergency department".

If this shortness of breath becomes severe, call 911 in the US or 999 in the UK - as soon as you can. Emergency warning signs of COVID-19 is "persistent pain or pressure in the chest", "bluish lips or face" and sudden mental confusion or lethargy. These emergency warning signs all signify that the patient is not getting enough oxygen.

coronavirus symptom

(Unusual) Coronavirus Symptom #4: Anosmia and Dysgeusia

Anosmia (lack of sense of smell) and Dysgeusia (lack of sense of taste) are coronavirus symptoms that have been recently discovered by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. They said that these symptoms have ultimately been seen in patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 presenting no other symptoms.

It has been known that if a patient shows a sudden loss of smell, it could be associated with respiratory infections that could be caused by other coronaviruses.

(Unusual) Coronavirus Symptom #5: Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is an inflammation of the transparent later of tissue that covers the white part of the eye and inside of the eyelid. This symptom, however, doesn't present itself that often, In China, around 1% - 3% of people who had COVID-19 also had pink eye.

If you do have pink or red-eye, it could be a sign for you to call your doctor if you do have other tell-tale symptoms of COVID-19.

The Cold and Flu Symptoms

The symptoms also resemble the flu, a typical cold and even allergies. Usually, the flu will have more symptoms. These symptoms include headaches, digestive issues, body aches and fatigues. If you have a runny nose, sore throat and sneezing, then they are probably cold or allergy related.

Something that will indicate COVID-19 more is that your symptoms (emphasis on the shortness of breath) do not improve within a week or may even worsen.

What Should the Public be Doing?

As there are a lack of resources for everyone to get tested for the virus, if you do present signs, follow the government initiative and go into self-isolation for at least a week. If you live with others it is recommended you all self-isolate for 2 weeks. If you find that after a week your symptoms haven't gone away or your health has decreased, call your doctor or emergency services depending on the severity of your symptoms at that moment in time.

If you are a person that is labelled as 'high risk', contacting your doctor early in the course of mild illness is highly advised. High-risk people include the elderly, immunocompromised, pregnant women, people with heart conditions and people that have a severe lung condition such as cystic fibrosis and severe asthma.

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