COVID 19 Symptoms
Coronaviruses are a set of viruses that cause gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders. Respiratory disorders can range from the common cold to more severe illnesses. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) as a new form of coronavirus in early 2020, following a December 2019 outbreak in China. This outbreak quickly spread around the world. In February 2020, WHO named this novel coronavirus as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID 19). WHO has declared the COVID 19 a pandemic.
What are the common symptoms of COVID 19?
People suffering from COVID 19 typically present with a wide range of symptoms. Some of the COVID 19 patients are completely asymptomatic i.e., show no symptoms at all. Those who develop symptoms may experience mild to moderate, self-limiting illness with symptoms similar to the common cold. The most common manifestations of COVID 19 are:
- Fever: It feels hot when you touch on the chest or back. Fever is a common COVID 19 symptom that can occur in 2-10 days if you have been infected.
- Dry cough: A dry cough is a cough without the production of mucus or phlegm. Cough in COVID 19 is described as “coughing for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in a 24 hour period”. Research shows that 60-70% of people who develop COVID 19 symptoms have a dry cough as one of the initial symptoms.
- Fatigue: Fatigue is a feeling of constant weakness and tiredness. It can be physical, emotional, or a combination of both. It is one of the most common COVID 19 symptoms.
What are the less common symptoms of COVID 19?
Other symptoms that can affect some people but are less frequent include:
- Loss of taste and smell: It is still uncertain how COVID 19 causes loss of taste and smell, but there are some theories. It is possible that the virus damages the nerve cells associated with senses of taste and smell.
- Runny nose/ Nasal congestion: Many people with COVID 19 experience nasal congestion. But because this is so common, especially in winters, it is difficult to conclude that “runny nose” is an absolute symptom of COVID 19.
- Sore throat: A sore throat is characterized by scratchy, dry, or irritating sensations in the throat. This can be one of the initial manifestations of COVID 19. But overall, sore throat is not so common COVID 19 symptom.
- Red eyes/ Conjunctivitis: About 1-3% of COVID 19 patients experience conjunctivitis or red eyes. This happens because the virus infects the conjunctiva (a tissue that covers the white part, called sclera, of our eyes or the inside of our eyelids).
- Diarrhea: COVID 19 also causes gastrointestinal symptoms in some individuals either alone or along with respiratory symptoms. Diarrhea is one of those symptoms.
- Headache: Headache refers to the pain that originates in the head or the upper neck of the body. Headache alone is not a COVID 19 symptom. But headache present along with cough and fever can be an indicator of the disease.
- Breathing problems: Dyspnea or shortness of breath is one of the main signs of COVID 19. Shortness of breath in COVID makes it hard to breathe regardless of whether you are resting or working. It takes greater force to exhale or inhale fully.
- Muscle pain: Viral infections, like COVID 19, often cause muscle pain (myalgia). Coronavirus causes inflammation of the muscle tissue (myositis) that results in muscle pain.
- Skin rash: Some of the patients with COVID 19 also experience skin rashes. There is a sudden appearance of raised bumps on the skin that are very itchy.
- Chills: The term “chills” is described as the feeling of being cold without a proper cause. People suffering from COVID 19 often experience repeated shaking with chills. But fever and chills are general features of many illnesses, so it is difficult to consider it as a definite symptom of COVID 19.
What are the severe symptoms of COVID 19?
COVID 19 patients who develop moderate to severe symptoms need hospitalization, most often due to pneumonia, but the disease may also include Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and septic shock. The following are emergency warning situations of the disease that need urgent medical attention:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
- Ongoing pressure or pain in the chest
- New confusion
- Loss of speech
- Bluish lips or face
- Inability to wake up fully