The coronavirus, which initially developed in the Wuhan region of China, is now present all over the world with a particularly significant transmission in Italy. You are probably wondering what the symptoms of covid-19 are. Indeed, it does not seem so obvious to determine precisely the physical signs of this epidemic. The most common symptoms are fever and a dry cough. We are going to explain to you how to know if the symptoms that you can have are those of the coronavirus or of another pathology like the seasonal flu.
What are the first symptoms of coronavirus?
Reminder of the Covid-19 transmission
The coronavirus is transmitted in several ways: saliva, droplets from sneezing or coughing, direct contact with carrier patients or indirect contact via contaminated surfaces. Since covid-19 has become an epidemic, hand washing is strongly recommended every hour and the use of an alcohol-based gel as a barrier to prevent any transmission.
Common symptoms of coronavirus
Despite these precautions, you may still feel symptoms.
Most commonly, the most common symptoms are:
- fever above 38.1 ° C
- a dry cough
These are the two most common symptoms and that the majority of sick patients will have only.
The coronavirus can also reveal:
- body aches
- muscle pain
- intense fatigue
- a cold.
Loss of taste and smell: new symptoms of coronavirus reported by patients
More recently, testimonies from patients with Covid-19 have identified that loss of taste and loss of smell were also symptoms of a possible coronavirus infection. But here again, do not panic: there are many reasons for a temporary loss of taste and smell, such as other seasonal illnesses not related to the coronavirus (ex: flu), smoking, etc.
In even rarer cases, some patients (1 in 30 according to a study in the Journal of Medical Virology), conjunctivitis could also appear.
All these symptoms still do not determine a serious health situation. If on the other hand you have a feeling of oppression or shortness of breath, it means that the respiratory infection becomes acute. In this case, you must quickly call for help.
In severe cases, covid-19 can cause respiratory distress, acute renal failure and multi-organ failure. Of course, these latter symptoms are more rare.
What are the differences with other symptoms of winter illnesses?
It is very difficult to tell the difference between flu and coronavirus symptoms. Indeed, these two diseases are viral respiratory infections which have an almost similar mode of transmission and measures. The first symptoms are often the same: fever, body aches, general fatigue and cough.
The only difference will be seen especially if your case gets worse. In fact, patients with acute covid-19 infection often have bilateral nodules in the lungs and fluid compressing areas of lung tissue. All this is visible on a radio performed during the hospitalization of the sick patient. You must then take the measures necessary for your rapid treatment.
What to do in case of symptoms of coronavirus?
Now, very strict measures have been announced by the government and health agencies in France or worldwide by the WHO to explain to people how to act in case of symptoms of coronavirus. If you report the first symptoms specified above, namely a dry cough and fever, do not go to the emergency room. If your condition seems to be of concern, give priority to teleconsultation with a general practitioner or contact your attending physician. Don’t hesitate to call them to find out if you feel sick and have potentially contagious symptoms like cough or cold.
General practitioners are on the front line to tell you if you need additional care or even a coronavirus test. Describe precisely all of your symptoms and your general health so that it determines the level of care required. In most situations, your doctor will prescribe paracetamol to lower the fever and decrease aches. Avoid self-medicating! Indeed, it is for example not recommended to use anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids to treat coronavirus. These excipients could even have an aggravating effect according to the Ministry of Health. Listen to your doctor and his recommendations and immediately take the appropriate measures.
If your case is more serious, if you suffer from shortness of breath or a very high fever, then call for help. You will be put in contact with doctors who will redirect you to the requisitioned hospitals to treat infected patients. You can then perform a test on site. If it is positive and your health is in danger, you will be hospitalized and taken care of by specialized services. If the test is negative or your condition is stable, the doctors will estimate that you can heal quickly, then you will go home. You must wear a mask and remain confined in your accommodation to avoid any transmission to people with whom you may be in regular contact.
When should you worry?
For 80% of the population, the covid-19 virus is not dangerous if it is taken care of with the right measures. However, the virus can take a more acute form in people who are frail or at risk. This is why absolutely avoid any transmission of the virus. Some people with chronic pathologies like hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, liver diseases, cancers and of course respiratory diseases more easily develop severe forms of the coronavirus. A very elderly person, over 80 years of age, is also more exposed to respiratory problems. You must therefore remain vigilant in the face of symptoms, especially if you are one of the so-called “at risk” cases and then take the measures necessary for your screening. Children are mostly asymptomatic but can contaminate those around them. Coronavirus is a killer disease, 2% of patients diagnosed worldwide . But there is no point in panicking if you have the first symptoms. Rest, appropriate care and complete containment are enough to counter the disease.
You can dial *719# for more information or call 0800-721316, toll-free for help on COVID-19. There is also 0729471414 and 0732353535. Additionally, there is 0709-931700, the Aga Khan University Hospital Hotline.
Discover infographic on the symptoms of coronavirus