Coronavirus symptoms update: The ’emergency’ warning sign on your face
COVID-19 can produce an array of unpredictable effects that mark it apart from a regular cold or flu. Researchers are still uncovering the many ways the virus attacks the body but symptoms help to a provide visual map of these unsettling effects. As the virus has spread, health bodies have classified the symptoms based on their severity status.
According to the NHS, the main warning signs associated with COVID-19 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,” explains the health body.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have listed a number of symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
Two emergency warning signs to watch out for can show up on your face, the CDC warns.
According to the health body, if you develop bluish lips or face, you should seek emergency medical care immediately.
Other emergency signs include:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake.
“This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you,” it adds.
COVID-19 can also cause catastrophic complications in the body due to triggering a process called cytokine storm.
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A cytokine storm is an overreaction of the body’s immune system.
As Harvard Health explains, in some people with COVID-19, the immune system releases immune messengers, called cytokines, into the bloodstream out of proportion to the threat or long after the virus is no longer a threat.
“When this happens, the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, potentially causing significant harm,” warns the health body.
As it explains, a cytokine storm triggers an exaggerated inflammatory response that may damage the liver, blood vessels, kidneys, and lungs, and increase formation of blood clots throughout the body.
Ultimately, the cytokine storm may cause more harm than the coronavirus itself.
Evidence suggests that most people will be either asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms that will improve within weeks, however.
While there is currently no specific treatment for COVID-19) you can often ease milder symptoms at home until you recover.
According to the NHS, if you have a high temperature, it can help to:
- Get lots of rest
- Drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to avoid dehydration – drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear
- Take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable.
There have been some news reports of anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen, making coronavirus worse.
The Commission on Human Medicines has now confirmed there is no clear evidence that using ibuprofen to treat symptoms such as a high temperature makes coronavirus worse.
“If you have a cough, it’s best to avoid lying on your back. Lie on your side or sit upright instead,” advises the NHS.
To help ease a cough, try having a teaspoon of honey – but do not give honey to babies under 12 months, it adds.
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