How do COVID-19 symptoms start to appear?
Coronavirus cases are rapidly surging the world over and in countries like ours, it is spreading in an even more alarming way. While vaccines may take a minimum of two-three years to fully work, identifying and preventing symptoms is the only real way to stop the infection from taking such a ghastly turn.
While we do know that COVID symptoms differ on a lot of factors- your age, severity, pre-existing conditions and gender, for that matter, but in most cases, COVID starts off in a certain manner. Researchers have also identified possible symptoms which may be simply exclusive to COVID-19 (loss of smell or taste, hiccups or infamous COVID toes).
One symptom which can diagnose the infection better
Now, newer studies conducted by the University of South California have suggested that COVID symptoms start in a certain order, which can also make it easier to differentiate from flu-like illnesses.
Scientists believe that identification of the symptoms may help people isolate and spot warning signs before the infection risk swells up.
Scientists based out of the University of South California sampled data from cases recorded in China. Over 55,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, collected by the World Health Organisation were analyzed to study the symptom precedence in the cases. Scientists also used data from over 1100 cases recorded between the early months of the infection peak (December and January).
These figures were then compared with data from over 2000 Influenza cases recorded from North America, Europe and around.
Scientists, in their study, said that identifying the difference in their symptoms could help chart the progression of all illnesses, and also predict the pattern in which COVID-19, which has infected over 27 million people worldwide starts off.
Fever and not a cough could be the tell-tale sign of COVID-19, scientists who sampled the results believe.
While COVID-19 and flu belong to a related family of viruses and have fairly similar symptoms, analyzed cases showed that most patients with a confirmed COVID diagnosis showcased the presence of fever first, as a comparison to those with the flu, who said the infection started off with a cough.
Difference between COVID-19 and the flu
However, the scientists also said that since the influenza strain keeps on changing, flu could also appear with more than one symptom at once.
As per WHO statistics, fever is one of the most widely reported symptoms in COVID-cases worldwide, seen in 87.9 per cent cases across 55,924 laboratories (as of June).
Dr Robert Glatter, a physician commented:
“The study found that patients with seasonal flu more commonly developed a cough before the onset of fever. In reality, this may be difficult to discern since the flu often begins abruptly with a triad of symptoms, including back pain, chills, along with a dry cough."
How does COVID-19 differ from the flu then?
COVID-19 might resemble the flu virus in many ways, but the way symptoms show up can be dissimilar. The analysis of cases from China showed that the symptoms presented in the following manner:
-Cough, muscle pain
-Shortness of breath
The study's findings also suggest that fever, and not cough itself should be used as a preventive screening measure as parts of the world have opened up and resuming life in a new normal manner.
(To be contd)