COVID-19 Symptoms: Here Is The Likely Order

Fever, followed by cough, muscle pain, and then nausea, and/or vomiting, and diarrhea.

This is the likely order in which symptoms first appear in COVID-19 patients according to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.

This finding may help clinicians rule out other diseases, and help patients seek care promptly or decide sooner to self-isolate.

According to the study, published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Public Health’, the likely order of symptoms in patients with COVID-19 is fever, followed by cough, muscle pain, and then nausea, and/or vomiting, and diarrhea.

“This order is especially important to know when we have overlapping cycles of illnesses like the flu that coincide with infections of COVID-19,” explained study co-author Peter Kuhn, a professor of medicine and biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) in the US.

With this new information, Kuhn said doctors can determine what steps to take to care for patients, and prevent their condition from worsening, PTI reported.

If patients are identified on the basis of these symptoms at an early stage, it may reduce their hospitalisation time since there are better approaches to treatments now for COVID-19 than during the beginning of the pandemic, believe researchers.

“The order of the symptoms matter. Knowing that each illness progresses differently means that doctors can identify sooner whether someone likely has COVID-19, or another illness, which can help them make better treatment decisions,” said Joseph Larsen, study lead author from USC in the PTI report.

While fever and cough are frequently associated with a variety of respiratory illnesses, including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which caused the 2002-03 pandemic, they said the timing and symptoms in the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract set COVID-19 apart.

Some findings of the study

  • The first two symptoms of COVID-19 are fever and cough
  • A very small fraction of patients experienced diarrhea as an initial symptom
  • Diarrhea as an early symptom indicates a more aggressive disease
  • The highest reported symptom is fever, followed by cough or dyspnea, and then finally, a small percent of patients reported diarrhea


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