Study this past week shows that around half of patients subsequently diagnosed with coronavirus had digestive symptoms.
The study was of 204 people in China and makes the case that symptoms like diarrhea may in fact be one of the first symptoms of COVID19.
The average time from first symptoms to hospitalization (if hospitalization was needed) was around 9 days if person had digestive symptoms and 7.3 days if respiratory symptoms only.
Loss of appetite was most common (~80%),
vomiting (~1%) and
abdominal pain (~ .5%).
Around 3% of patients had only digestive symptoms without any respiratory symptoms whatsoever.
So, as you monitor for symptoms at home over the next couple weeks, look for things like fever (100.4), shortness of breath and dry cough.
But, also pay attention to any new or unusual digestive symptoms such as listed above.
Finally, it is worth reminding that roughly 80% of patients likely to recover without any hospitalization or additional treatment. If your symptoms are mild, ask yourself: ‘would I have normally gone to hospital for these symptoms?’ If not, stay home this time as well.
Other notable symptoms of COVID19
Sudden loss of smell or taste especially without upper respiratory tract symptoms should raise a strong suspicion for COVID-19.
Increasing presentation of this as the only symptom of the infection, or raising the probability of being a carrier is now known.
A 20-year-old woman, Julia Buscaglia, gave a detailed insight into her unusual symptoms of COVID-19 in a series of posts on Twitter.
She said she was struck down with severe symptoms beyond the dry cough and fever which health authorities like the CDC and WHO have indicated are early indicators.
Ms Buscaglia produced a timeline of events from when she initially started feeling ill while in Italy on February 29, to when she was eventually diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 14.
She wrote on Twitter: “February 29th: I woke up this day in agony.
“My head was pounding, my ears throbbing, and it felt as if my throat was on fire.
“My body ached, I had chills, and I had a fever of 100.2. I took over the counter anti-inflammatories and stayed in bed the entire day.”
By March 3 Ms Buscaglia began to lose her sense of taste and smell and developed further flu-like symptoms.
She said: “I still couldn’t hear, and at this point I lost all ability to taste and smell, yet I did not have a runny nose or cough.
“I had a headache constantly during the day which I just treated with Tylenol. I left the next morning to return to America.”
For the next 14 days Ms Buscaglia put herself in quarantine, but insisted she did not have any of the symptoms the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) warned were linked to the virus.
She said: “No symptoms were present that the CDC warned us about. I had a WET cough. And my hearing, taste, and smell finally returned.”
The next day following advice from her patents who worked in the health service, she took a coronavirus test and on March 14 the results came back positive.
She wrote: “My jaw DROPPED.