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COVID-19 symptoms often appear in this order, as study results show

Researchers at the University of Southern California say they found that out Symptoms of COVID-19 usually occur in a specific order, a discovery that could help many patients to be identified and treated earlier.

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“This is kind of a good guide,” said Dr. Bob Lahita, professor of medicine not involved in the study, told CBSN host Anne-Marie Green. “We can safely say that the study included 55,000 patients from China. They looked at the dates and symptoms and found that this order is fairly reproducible.”

According to the study published in the medical journal Frontier Public Health, the most likely order of symptoms is fever, then cough, and muscle pain, followed by nausea and / or vomiting, and then diarrhea.

“Fever is number one, followed by cough, followed by pain – and they don’t all have to come together, they can come together,” Lahita said of the first grouping of symptoms. After that, he said, there is nausea and vomiting, followed by diarrhea.

Symptoms are not the same in all patients. However, the new findings underscore how COVID-19 differs from other known diseases. While fever and cough are also linked to a number of other illnesses like the flu, the study notes that it was when these symptoms appear and when gastrointestinal symptomsthat make this virus stand out.

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In a press release about the study, USC scientist Peter Kuhn said that understanding the order in which the virus symptoms appear would be useful in “overlapping disease cycles” like this upcoming flu season.

“Doctors can determine what steps need to be taken to care for the patient, and they can prevent the patient’s condition from getting worse,” said Kuhn.

To determine the sequence, USC researchers, led by PhD student Joseph Larsen, examined medical records and other data on over 55,000 coronavirus cases in China, collected over a nine-day period in February, as well as a number of over 1,000 Cases from December to December January. They also compared their results with data on 2,470 influenza cases in North America, Europe, and the Southern Hemisphere from 1994 to 1998.

“It’s important to have this information,” Lahita said. “Besides the things we all talk about Loss of smell and tasteagain – fever, cough, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and then diarrhea are very good indicators of the fact that you may have COVID-19. ”

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