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COVID-19 has been around for over a year now and has caused millions of deaths across the globe.
Some people will have no symptoms at all while others can suffer severely and scientists have produced a day-by-day breakdown of the typical Covid-19 symptoms – to help people better understand the nature of the disease.
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Scientists have produced a day-by-day breakdown of the typical Covid-19 symptoms
A study from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, outlined how Covid-19 progresses – with fever, fatigue and shortness of breath all developing at different times.
The analysis includes adults with Covid-19 admitted to Jinyintan Hospital and Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital.
It’s important to note that a third of coronavirus cases have no symptoms at all.
The government launched free rapid testing across the UK for people with no symptoms – this is so that the virus has less chance of spreading unknowingly.
But if you have any of the three key symptoms, a high temperature, loss of taste and smell or a new persistent cough you should get a PCR test.
There are also conditions such as long Covid.
This is when a person has had Covid and got over the intial virus – but still suffers debilitating symptoms months on.
Here, with the help of this study, we take you through the coronavirus symptoms timeline.
Many people suffering with coronavirus symptoms will feel tired
For most people, the first symptoms will be fever (temperature above 37.8C) and/or cough, which is usually dry to start with.
Despite this, Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of Patientaccess.com, adds: “Muscle aches and pains and feeling generally very tired are also common.
“Sore throat and blocked nose are less common and runny nose or sneezing less common still.”
And in a study carried out in Wuhan, of 138 patients, about ten per cent of people experienced diarrhoea and nausea a couple of days prior to development of fever.
Developing these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have the illness and they are similar to other illnesses, such as the common cold or flu.
Some people will not develop all of these symptoms – and some might not even show symptoms at all, experts say.
A team of researchers who studied 138 patients with Covid-19 at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University found that on average it took five days for people to develop signs of breathing difficulties – from displaying the first symptoms.
Patients who are usually older or have a pre-existing health condition are normally the people who experience difficulty breathing – known as dyspnea.
Signs that a person is experiencing dyspnea include shortness of breath, feeling smothered or suffocated, tightness in the chest, rapid, shallow breathing, heart palpitations and wheezing.
As Dr Jarvis says, “For most people, most symptoms will have settled within a week.”
About 85 per cent of people diagnosed with coronavirus will see their symptoms start to diminish by day seven.
From the remaining 15 per cent who don’t see their symptoms diminish and are showing signs of dyspnea – they tend to be admitted to hospital on day seven.
Patients with severe cases tend to develop signs of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) at this point.
According to the NHS, this is a life-threatening condition where the lungs can’t provide the body’s vital organs with enough oxygen.
ARDS occurs when the lungs become severely inflamed due to an infection or injury and the inflammation causes fluid from nearby blood vessels to leak into the tiny air sacs in your lungs, making breathing increasingly difficult.
Symptoms of ARDS can include severe shortness of breath, rapid, shallow breathing, tiredness, drowsiness or confusion and feeling faint.
15 per cent of cases reach this point, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Patients with worsening breathing problems tend to be entered into an intensive care unit at day ten.
The Wuhan study also said it observed that the average hospital stay was ten days.
By day 12, fever – an early sign of Covid-19 – would typically end around this point.
However, a cough associated with the illness may stay around for longer, the scientists found.
In fact, 45 per cent of the 191 patients who were looked at still had a cough on discharge after the 12 day period.
WHAT IS LONG COVID
At the start of 2020 Covid-19 was new and unknown to most of the world and experts say there is still much that needs to be understood about the virus.
“Firstly, it’s important to know that ‘long-Covid’ is not an official medical term, but a colloquial term being used to describe people whose symptoms go on for longer than the two-week symptom period officially recognised by WHO.
“As with the acute stage of the disease, the long-term symptoms are still far from being fully understood.”
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Here are the main symptoms of long Covid:
– Hair loss
– High temperature
– Chest pain
– Covid toes
– Cognitive problems
– Breathing issues
– Muscle or body aches
– A heart rate of more than 100 beats a minute
Dyspnoea – shortness of breath – tends to cease after about 13 days for those who survive and continue until point of death for those who didn’t.
From illness onset, the average time to death was 18.5 days.
However, the developments and use of different treatments such as dexamethsone have helped get patients out of hospital.
The average time to discharge was 22 days.
There are now three vaccines being rolled out across the UK to help prevent infections from coronavirus.
Jabs from Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have been given out to millions of Brits.
Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses – only bacteria.
The NHS says that treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.
Those who are infected will need to stay in isolation away from other people until they have recovered.