Covid-19: Are these the new symptoms of coronavirus?

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Dubai - At present, the ‘classic triad’ of cough, fever and loss of smell are considered to be the typical signs for coronavirus.

By Nandini Sircar

Published: Sun 21 Feb 2021, 4:09 PM

Last updated: Mon 22 Feb 2021, 6:33 AM

Getting tested for additional symptoms of Covid-19 could help identify more cases and expedite treatment, said doctors in the UAE.

Supported by a study from King’s College, London, medics pointed out that disorders like sudden onset of hearing loss, tinnitus, acute diarrhoea or a throbbing headache could be indicative of Covid-19.

Being unaware of these signs could lead to a delayed or no diagnosis at all, which could not only fuel the spread of the cases, but also put a person at risk of host of severe problems.

At present, the ‘classic triad’ of cough, fever and loss of smell are considered to be the typical signs for coronavirus.

But an uncharacteristic presentation of the disease is being identified by doctors in the country. Dr Riyaz Usman, general practitioner, Aster Specialty Clinic – International City, said: “Nowadays, we come across varied atypical clinical presentations of Covid-19 apart from those classical symptoms of acute respiratory infection like fever, sore throat, cough, breathing difficulty and loss of smell or taste. With detailed history-taking, examination and streamlined investigations, these atypical presentations of Covid-19 can be identified.”

He added: “Acute diarrhoea and severe fatigue is one among the common atypical symptoms. Also, acute onset of confusion in elderly patients is being reported nowadays in Covid-19. Some patients with acute onset of throbbing headache, severe body pain and malaise even without a fever turned out to be Covid-19 positive. Another patient came with severe onset of conjunctivitis and diffused rashes on body. Later, he was tested Covid-19 positive.”

Dr Rohit Kumar, medical director, Medeor Hospital, Dubai, pointed out: “According to a new study conducted by King's College, London and a symptom study app, getting tested for additional symptoms could pick up as many as 40 per cent more cases. The new study suggests adding symptoms such as fatigue, sore throat, headaches as well.”

He added: “In this case, people suffering from any of these symptoms should quickly isolate themselves and undergo a PCR Test. Delay in getting the test done would risk the health of other people too. It is best if the person could get tested within the first three days in case they experience the symptoms continuously.”

Healthcare professionals highlight hearing loss is also a significant cause of morbidity and can be missed in ICU settings.

Dr Prashant Sharma, specialist ENT with Prime Hospital, explained: “Sudden onset of hearing loss and tinnitus can be one of the manifestations of Covid-19. In my opinion, sudden onset of ringing and hearing loss should be checked for Covid-19 infection as soon as the patient reports the same.”

“Potential ear damage can be caused by systemic toxic effects of immune reactions elicited by coronavirus and the risk of hearing damage will increase with severity of infection. Neuro auditory effects may appear in the longer run. At present, it's difficult to say with certainty that Covid-19 may predispose hearing loss, however, patients reporting hearing loss should be screened.”

Therefore, just like asymptomatic transmission, in the lack of proper knowledge, a lot of people can take their symptoms lightly and go on spreading the disease in the community.

Dr Sarla Kumari, internal medicine specialist at Canadian Specialist Hospital, underlined: “People with symptoms for a long time more commonly reported were palpitations or fast heartbeat, pins and needles pricking, numbness, problem with concentration like feeling brain clog and back pain fatigue. Hence, as part of a responsible community, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately if any of these symptoms develop.”

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