Coronavirus symptoms: The ‘hidden’ symptom common in young people to watch out for2020-03-30
COVID-19 is a unique threat because humanity is constantly playing catch up as it tears through communities. Because it is a new strain of virus, health experts are recording its behaviour to try and outsmart it. The symptoms that are showing up in COVID-19 patients are helping health experts to develop counterstrategies, such as advising the public on what to watch out for.
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According to the NHS, the main symptoms to watch out for are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
Recent research suggest the list needs to be updated, however.
A new symptom has come to the fore and it is mainly affecting young patients, evidence shows.
Some COVID-19 patients have reported a lack of smell and taste – known as anosmia – despite not having the usual signs of a cough or fever.
The symptom is now believed to be present in “hidden carriers” of Covid-19.
Commenting on the development, Professor Nirmal Kumar, head of ENT UK, told Sky News: “In young patients, they do not have any significant symptoms such as the cough and fever, but they may have just the loss of sense of smell and taste, which suggests that these viruses are lodging in the nose.”
In light of the finding, he has urged Britons to self-isolate if they have this symptom.
In a statement, ENT UK said: “There is already good evidence from South Korea, China and Italy that significant numbers of patients with proven covid-19 infection have developed anosmia/hyposmia (loss of sense of smell).
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It continued: “There have been a rapidly growing number of reports of a significant increase in the number of patients presenting with anosmia in the absence of other symptoms – this has been widely shared on medical discussion boards by surgeons from all regions managing a high incidence of cases.”
The claims are supported by research conducted by the British Rhinological Society Profession and the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology.
Approximately a third of patients who have tested positive in South Korea, China and Italy reported experiencing a loss of smell.
“In South Korea, where testing has been more widespread, 30 percent of patients testing positive have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases,” the associations said in a joint statement.
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They added: “There have been a rapidly growing number of reports of a significant increase in the number of patients presenting with anosmia in the absence of other symptoms.
“Iran has reported a sudden increase in cases of isolated anosmia, and many colleagues from the US, France and Northern Italy have the same experience.”
What should I do if I experience mild symptoms?
According to the NHS, you must not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.
This social distancing measure is called self-isolation.
As the health body explains, if you are self-isolating, you must:
- Not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but Stay at least two metres (three steps) away from other people
- Not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
- Not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
You can use your garden, if you have one, however.
How long should I self-isolate for?
Public health bodies say you need to self-isolate for seven days if you show mild symptoms.
After seven days:
- If you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to self-isolate
- If you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal
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