Coronavirus: Spread of COVID-19 variants discussed by expert
Despite its ongoing vaccine campaign, the UK’s fight against coronavirus appears to be careening off course. Yesterday it recorded 41,385 new daily cases and 20,426 patients in its hospitals – up from 18,974 during the peak of the first wave. The new variant of coronavirus discovered in Kent is thought to be behind this surge.
There is currently no evidence to suggest the new strain is more virulent than earlier versions but its transmissibility underscores the importance of symptom recognition.
Throughout the pandemic, COVID-19 – the disease that spawns from the latest coronavirus – has produced a slew of symptoms that are not respiratory in their nature.
One of the milder yet highly prevalent gastrointestinal symptoms is diarrhoea.
Researchers at Stanford University found that a third of patients they studied with a mild case of COVID-19 had symptoms affecting the digestive system.
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Another study published by researchers in Beijing found that anywhere from third to 79 percent of people with COVID-19 develop gastrointestinal symptoms.
Furthermore, a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology examined 206 patients with a mild case of COVID-19.
They found 48 people had only digestive symptoms and another 69 had both digestive and respiratory symptoms.
Of the combined total of 117 people with gastric distress, 19.4 percent experienced diarrhoea as their first symptom.
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What’s more, an analysis of data from the COVID Symptom Study app included it in one of its main clusters, along with headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, sore throat and chest pain.
Other warning signs
Along with a loss of smell or taste, the NHS says the main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A high temperature
- New, continuous cough.
“Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms,” explains the health body.
How to respond
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus, get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.
Can I treat my symptoms?
There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19), but you can often ease the 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.
“You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat symptoms of coronavirus,” advises the NHS.
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