India may have entered Unlock 2.0 where restrictions have eased further but let’s not mistake it for any control over the raging novel coronavirus. Some hotspots have shown a decline in new cases but others have seen a sharp uptick.
At the global level, the WHO has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic is nowhere near an end. Over 60 per cent of over 1 crore confirmed cases of Covid-19 worldwide were reported in the month of June itself. The global daily average of fresh cases for June was 1.6 lakh. It is time to recap what all are symptoms of a coronavirus infection.
3 MAIN SYMPTOMS
Continuous coughing. Experts have said a coronavirus-infected person may have continuous coughing for an hour or more. This coughing bout attack can happen three times in a 24-hour cycle. However, some patients have reported only minor coughing. In some cases, coughing can throw out phlegm.
Fever. A coronavirus patient generally experiences fever, a rise in body temperature. Fever could be mild with temperature rising to 100.6 degree Fahrenheit – two notches above the standard body temperature of 98.6 degree Fahrenheit or 37 degree Celsius.
Extreme weakness. A Covid-19 patient feels extreme weakness and fatigue. The intensity depends on the viral load in a patient.
OTHER DEFINING SYMPTOMS
These three symptoms are also common with a range of other flu infections. This is what makes it tricky for a patient to make the crucial call of when to see a doctor. Covid-19, however, has a range of other atypical symptoms that can signal when to act.
Loss of smell. This is becoming more common than earlier thought. A sizeable share of Covid-19 patients are visiting hospitals with complaints about sudden loss of smell.
Loss of taste. In many cases loss of taste is accompanied with loss of smell also. If both happen together, a Covid-19 test is recommended by doctor.
Chills. Feeling cold and shivering is another symptom which may indicate a coronavirus infection if accompanied with fever.
Muscle pain. Aching muscles to an extent that a person is unable to undertake any physical work is also a symptom of Covid-19.
Breathlessness. Shortness of breath and hypoxia are seen among more severe coronavirus cases. If someone develops such a symptom, immediate medical consultation is advised. Such patients may need immediate hospitalisation.
Sore throat. It is one of the common symptoms with many other flu infections. In a coronavirus infection, if sore throat is accompanied with fever, it is a case for medical checkup.
Diarrhoea. Doctors treating Covid-19 patients have observed that diarrhoea is one of the common atypical symptoms of coronavirus infection. If it comes with some other symptoms, it could be a case of Covid-19.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SHOW SYMPTOMS?
There is no fixed timeline of onset of symptoms after contraction of coronavirus. It generally takes five days for a patient to show the symptoms mentioned above. But some patients may show symptoms earlier than others. The WHO says the latest onset of symptoms may take place by the 14th day after contracting the virus.
HOW TO PREVENT CORONAVIRUS INFECTION?
The Rules are the same. Don’t touch your nose and mouth. Don’t breathe the same air as a Covid-19 patient – symptomatic or asymptomatic.
To achieve this, always wear a mask because no one knows who is releasing the virus into air or depositing it on a surface. Don’t touch an unknown surface and take the same finger to your nose or mouth or eyes.
You must clean your hands with soap or sanitise them with an alcohol-based cleanser before touching your face. Do it every time you intend to touch your face.
Don’t blow your nose in the open.
Cough or sneeze into disposable tissues, which must then be carefully disposed in a sealed poly-bag.
Don’t go close to a Covid-19 patient. If you have to, wear PPE or cover your face properly.
Until this pandemic ends, don’t shake hands with or hug anybody. Wearing mask may not be very useful in such a case.
WHEN TO GO TO HOSPITAL?
Experts say rushing to a hospital with mild symptoms should be avoided. Such persons are advised home isolation. They should shun contact with the other members of the family or persons sharing the same accommodation.
However, given the anxiety level among the public with regard to Covid-19, a self-suspect patient may not be able to judge which case is mild and when it becomes serious.
So, when someone feels unwell and measures rise temperature, that person should make a call on a helpline number — +91-11-23978046 or 1075 in India — and follow the instructions.