Health

Coronavirus symptoms update: Five unusual warning signs

Britain is at a "tipping point" in its battle with COVID-19, according to health secretary Matt Hancock. This comes as England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has warned the rate of COVID-19 infections in the UK is "heading in the wrong direction". With the prospect of a second national lockdown becoming more likely with every passing day, it is more vital than ever to look out for the symptoms and self-isolate if you experience them.

What has become clear as the viral disease has raged over the last six months is that it does not behave like a typical respiratory infection.

COVID-19 can ferociously attack different areas of the body and this is reflected in the growing list of unusual symptoms.

The NHS states that the main symptoms to watch out for are:

A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms, notes the health body.

Elsewhere, researchers and health bodies have catalogued a more extensive and unusual list of symptoms.

As far back as May, delirium and confusion were reported to be prevalent among seriously ill patients.

In a study published in The Lancet, a team of researchers examined a small number of COVID-19-positive patients.

They identified evidence of confusion and agitation in more than 60 percent of the cases of intensive care patients, .

The scientists suggest the symptom may be in part exacerbated by being in intensive care.

The multinational scientists concluded that patients who have to stay in intensive care for long periods of time and who are in need of ventilation treatment may be at greater risk of experiencing delirium and confusion.

Health body Mayo Clinic has also compiled a list of unusual warning signs.

COVID-19 might cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms, including a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, noted the health body.


"These symptoms might only last one day. Some people with COVID-19 have diarrhoea and nausea prior to developing fever and respiratory symptoms," it says.

Other unusual symptoms reported include:

Skin changes. Younger people with less severe COVID-19 might develop painful, itchy lesions on their hands and feet that resemble chilblains, an inflammatory skin condition. Sometimes called COVID toes, this symptom typically lasts about 12 days. However, new research suggests that these lesions might simply be chilblains caused by sedentary behavior and failure to wear warm footwear during lockdowns, rather than by COVID-19.Confusion. COVID-19 also has been reported to cause confusion in older people, especially those with severe infections.Eye problems. COVID-19 might cause eye problems such as enlarged, red blood vessels, swollen eyelids, excessive watering and increased discharge. The infection also might cause light sensitivity and irritation. These symptoms are more common in people with severe infections.

"Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus and can range from mild to severe," adds Mayo Clinic.

How to respond

According to UK health advice, if you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:

Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.Stay at home and do not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result.

A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.

It is better to limit all your social interactions at this time to help stop the spread of coronavirus, however.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

You're worried about your symptomsYou're not sure what to do.

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