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Coronavirus: How COVID-19 Symptoms Can Let Doctors Know the Severity of Cases Before It’s Too Late



Two medical experts are reviewing a new study that lists six levels of severity of COVID-19 symptoms and shows how the results can help doctors treat patients.

The research study used data from an app that collected and analyzed participants from the UK and the US. In addition, the symptoms that occurred were recorded.

Dr. Jan Patterson, an infectious disease specialist at UT Health San Antonio and a member of the Texas Medical Association, said the results were “interesting.”

“They found that they could split them into six different groups that had to do with the severity of their result, both the severity of the symptoms and the severity of the results,”

; she explained. “They found that the last three groups that had the more severe symptoms were the ones that were more likely to need airway support and those that had severe fatigue, shortness of breath, some chest pain, and the opposite of those who had a lot milder symptoms, for example just loss of smell or a sore throat. Interestingly, each of the groups had a headache complaint as a symptom. “

Dr. Joseph Petrosino, chair of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, said this understanding of the severity of symptoms could help doctors figure out which patients might become more severe.

“These and similar studies will help doctors predict where your particular COVID case is headed before you actually get there,” Petrosino said. “In terms of the major or perhaps not-so-major endpoint, this will reduce the burden on health systems and reduce the number of unnecessary hospital stays.”

There are a wide range of COVID-19 symptoms. According to the CDC, symptoms can appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

The list of symptoms includes, but is not limited to:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New loss of taste or smell

In a study by King’s College London, there was a group of patients who did not develop a fever.

The following are the six symptoms, listed from mild to severe:

1.) Flu symptoms without a fever: Headache, loss of smell, muscle pain, cough, sore throat, chest pain, no fever.
2.) Flu symptoms with fever: Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, loss of appetite.
3.) Gastrointestinal problemssuch as diarrhea: headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, sore throat, chest pain, no cough.
4.) Fatigue: Headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, fatigue.

5.) Confusion:Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain.

6.) Abdominal and breathing problems:Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, abdominal pain.

It is important to note that the last three groups were severe cases.

The Texas Medical Association has also released a decision table to help people decide whether they need a COVID-19 test. The table is available in both English and Spanish.

“Don’t wait until it’s too late,” said Patterson. “If you start to experience breathlessness, especially severe breathlessness, this is something to be evaluated for.”

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