Symptoms of the novel coronavirus vary from person to person and they can be mild, moderate or severe. 

Common symptoms of COVID-19

As a respiratory infection, the four most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

If a person experiences any of the symptoms listed above they should self-isolate to avoid contaminating others. Additional reported symptoms that are less common  include:

  • Aches in the body and muscles 
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of smell
  • Los of taste
  • Skin rash
  • Discolouration of fingers and toes

Anyone with these symptoms should monitor them and call their local healthcare service if they are concerned. More serious symptoms of coronavirus which require immediate medical attention are:

  • Breathing difficulties and shortness of breath
  • Chest pain/pressure

The WHO reports that around 80% of infected patients are able to recover without requiring hospitalisation. 

1 in 5 people infected with COVID-19 has developed breathing difficulties.

How COVID-19 may be treated? 

There is no cure for COVID-19. As a virus, it is resistant to antibiotics. In most instances, the virus will clear up over 14 days without needing medical assistance. Those infected can alleviate any discomfort with painkillers such as paracetamol. It is important to apply coronavirus prevention measures whilst infected. 

Who is most at risk of contracting COVID-19?

Everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19. However, statistics show that the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are more likely to develop a serious strain of the virus. Those with a heart or lung condition, cancer, diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure are more at risk.

Children can contract COVID-19, although infection rates in children are lower and appear to have less severe effects. But children are just as capable of spreading the virus even with only mild symptoms. This is why governments and health officials advise keeping children separate from high-risk relatives. 

Complications of the Coronavirus

Most people who contract COVID-19 will make a full recovery. Those with underlying health problems listed above are most at risk of developing complications as a result of coronavirus. 

There have been reports of patients suffering from pneumonia, acute respiratory failure, acute organ failure, sepsis and blood clots. Studies show that these side effects are low. However, it is important that any person infected with the novel coronavirus considers their medical history.

What to do if you display symptoms of COVID-19

Those with mild symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate at home and avoid contact with others. Self-isolating means avoiding all contact with members of the public as well as family members and cohabitants. 

By comparison, self-quarantining means maintaining distance from those a person might infect if they are infected but asymptomatic.

If a person has moderate coronavirus symptoms they should contact their nearest medical facility for advice. They will direct the caller of the next step and whether they should visit a clinic. If deemed necessary to consult a doctor, the advisor will direct the patient where to go. 

However, if an individual experiences any chest pain or difficulty breathing they must seek medical attention immediately. They should alert their nearest medical facility that they require a consultation. This way the facility staff can advise of arrival protocol and prepare for the patient’s arrival.

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