DO I HAVE CORONAVIRUS?
How to recognise the symptoms
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*
- Shortness of breath
*This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.
Update 1 April 2020
A loss of sense of taste and smell: this may be a sign you have coronavirus, but these are also signs of other respiratory infections such as the common cold. See below for more details
3 symptoms to watch for
UPDATE (01/04/20) - Loss of sense of Smell or Taste
A loss of smell or taste may be a sign that you have coronavirus, according to UK researchers.
A team at King’s College London looked at responses from more than 400,000 people reporting suspected Covid-19 symptoms to an app.
But loss of smell and taste are also signs of other respiratory infections, such as the common cold.
And experts say fever and cough remain the most important symptoms of the virus to look out for and act upon.
If you or someone you live with has a new continuous cough or high temperature, the advice is stay at home to stop the risk of spreading coronavirus to others.
What did the study find?
The King’s College researchers wanted to gather information on possible coronavirus symptoms to help experts better understand and fight the disease.
Of those reporting one or more symptoms of coronavirus to the Covid Symptom Tracker app:
- 53% said they had fatigue or tiredness
- 29% persistent cough
- 28% shortness of breath
- 18% loss of sense of smell or taste
- 10.5% suffered from fever
Of these 400,000 people, 1,702 said they had been tested for Covid-19, with 579 receiving a positive result and 1,123 a negative one.
Among the ones who had coronavirus infection confirmed by a positive test, three-fifths (59%) reported loss of smell or taste.
Should loss of smell and taste be added to the key symptoms to watch out for?
Experts say there’s not enough evidence yet.
Public Health England and the World Health Organization have not added them to the list.
ENT UK, the body that represents Ear, Nose and Throat doctors, says it is not surprising that some patients with coronavirus might report these as symptoms, but they are not specific to Covid-19.
The King’s researchers say loss of smell and taste might be useful extra symptoms to watch for, perhaps not on their own but alongside other important ones like cough and fever.
Lead researcher Prof Tim Spector said: “When combined with other symptoms, people with loss of smell and taste appear to be three times more likely to have contracted Covid-19 according to our data, and should therefore self-isolate for seven days to reduce the spread of the disease.”
Emergency Warning Signs
If you develop emergency warning signs for coronavirus get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your GP clinic or call NHS 111 for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning. Call 999 in an emergency.
Coronavirus Symptoms - comparison table
Regardless of the cause of illness, if you or someone you know has any of the following symptoms then you should seek immediate medical attention:
The WHO case definition of Coronavirus COVID-19 Infection
WHO periodically updates the “Global Surveillance for human infection with coronavirus disease (COVID-19)” document which includes case definitions. This is correct as at 6th April 2020.
For easy reference, case definitions are included below.
A patient with acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), AND with no other etiology that fully explains the clinical presentation AND a history of travel to or residence in a country/area or territory reporting local transmission of COVID-19 disease during the 14 days prior to symptom onset.
A patient with any acute respiratory illness AND having been in contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case (see definition of contact) in the last 14 days prior to onset of symptoms;
A patient with severe acute respiratory infection (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease (e.g., cough, shortness breath) AND requiring hospitalization AND with no other etiology that fully explains the clinical presentation.
A suspect case for whom testing for COVID-19 is inconclusive. Inconclusive being the result of the test reported by the laboratory;
A suspect case for whom testing could not be performed for any reason.
A person with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms.
Definition of contact
- A contact is a person who experienced any one of the following exposures during the 2 days before and the 14 days after the onset of symptoms of a probable or confirmed case:
- Face-to-face contact with a probable or confirmed case within 1 meter and for more than 15 minutes;
- Direct physical contact with a probable or confirmed case;
- Direct care for a patient with probable or confirmed COVID-19 disease without using proper personal protective equipment; OR
- Other situations as indicated by local risk assessments.
Note: for confirmed asymptomatic cases, the period of contact is measured as the 2 days before through the 14 days after the date on which the sample was taken which led to confirmation.