02 May Coronavirus symptoms: What are they and how do I protect myself?
Coronavirus has claimed more than 156,000 lives and infected nearly 2.3 million people around the world.
Among them is UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is now recuperating after being treated in hospital for Covid-19.
What are the coronavirus symptoms?
Coronavirus infects the lungs. The two main symptoms are a fever or a dry cough, which can sometimes lead to breathing problems.
The cough to look out for is a new, continuous cough. This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or having three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. If you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual.
You have a fever if your temperature is above 37.8C. This can make you feel warm, cold or shivery.
A sore throat, headache and diarrhea have also been reported and a loss of smell and taste may also be a symptom.
It takes five days on average to start showing the symptoms, but some people will get them much later. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the incubation period lasts up to 14 days.
On 18 April, the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its list of symptoms to look out for, to include:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Previously it only detailed a fever, cough and shortness of breath.
When do people need to go to hospital?
The majority of people with coronavirus will recover after rest and pain relief (such as paracetamol).
The main reason people need hospital treatment is difficulty breathing.
Doctors may scan the lungs to see how badly they are affected and give support, such as oxygen or ventilation, if needed.
However, people should not go to A&E if they are concerned.
If you are so breathless that you are unable to speak more than a few words you will be told to call 911, as this is a medical emergency.
If you become so ill that you’ve stopped doing all of your usual daily activities then it will advise speaking to a doctor.
What happens in intensive care?
Intensive care units (ICUs) are specialist wards for people who are very ill.
Coronavirus patients will get oxygen support, which can involve using a facemask, or a tube in the nose.
The most invasive way – for the most seriously ill patients – is ventilation where air, with increased levels of oxygen, is pushed into the lungs via a tube in the mouth, nose or through a small cut in the throat.
Coronavirus: Key Symptoms
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