Coronavirus: signs and symptoms of COVID-19

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Concerned you might be at risk of coronavirus? Here are the most common signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

By Dr Ravi Tomar – BSc AKC MBBS DRCOG DCH MRCGP PGCert

Concerned that your lingering cough might be Covid-19? Dr Ravi Tomar, GP at Portland Medical Centre, shares the most common coronavirus symptoms, how to virus manifests itself in humans and the expected recovery period:

What is the coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of hundreds of viruses. While the vast majority of these viruses only affect animals, so far seven coronaviruses including this new virus known as ‘Covid-19’ are known to have made the jump to humans.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) – are two of the best-known examples of coronaviruses which have been passed on to humans. The new virus, officially called Covid-19, is the latest to have infected humans

As with any virus, those with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk of Covid-19. Those aged over 65, people with underlying conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, cancer or HIV are all likely to be at increased risk.

Coronavirus symptoms

What are the most common signs and symptoms of coronavirus? Confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reported the following symptoms:

  • A fever
  • A continuous dry cough
  • Tiredness
  • General feeling of being weak and unwell

It is estimated that Covid-19 has an incubation period of 2-14 days, meaning it can take up to two weeks for an infected person to show symptoms.

If you’re starting to feel any of the above symptoms, then it’s best to assume you may have coronavirus and to fully isolate yourself. Use the online NHS 111 coronavirus service to find out what to do. If you are unable to do this, you can call 111 by phone.

Some people have reported other symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, diarrhoea and a loss of their sense of smell.

How does coronavirus manifest itself?

For those in good health, if they contract Covid-19 they are most likely to experience a mild, continuous cough or a high temperature. It’s still essential to self-isolate until told otherwise by a medical professional, as a mild case for a healthy person can quickly escalate into pneumonia if contracted by an individual with a compromised immune system.

Coronavirus recovery

What is the recovery period for Covid-19? Recovery really depends on the strength of the immune system. For people with an otherwise healthy immune system, recovery is likely to be similar to that of any other upper respiratory illness such as flu.

As with any virus, those with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk of Covid-19.

People with mild symptoms may recover within a few days, whereas the more severe cases and those who develop pneumonia may take several weeks or months to recover to full health. Everyone’s recovery is different and it’s important to take things slowly.

Coronavirus prevention

With no vaccine currently available for Covid-19, the most effective way to protect vulnerable members of society from Covid-19 if you’re experiencing symptoms is to self-isolate to avoid potential spread. You should also seek remote medical advice via the NHS 111 service.

If you are in the high risk group and have suspected coronavirus symptoms, seek medical advice immediately to ensure your symptoms can be monitored and treated appropriately. It’s also worth reading our coronavirus prevention tips.

Net Doctor

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