Is that cough or sore throat a symptom of a cold or coronavirus?
The most detailed understanding of symptoms of coronavirus comes from a recent World Health Organization analysis of more than 55,000 confirmed cases in China. It’s important to know the most common symptoms:
- Fever: 88%
- Dry cough: 68%
- Fatigue: 38%
- Coughing up sputum, or thick phlegm, from the lungs: 33%
- Shortness of breath: 19%
- Bone or joint pain: 15%
- Sore throat: 14%
- Headache: 14%
- Chills: 11%
- Nausea or vomiting: 5%
- Stuffy nose: 5%
- Diarrhea: 4%
- Coughing up blood: 1%
- Swollen eyes: 1%
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 is a lower respiratory tract infection, which means that most of the symptoms are felt in the chest and lungs. That’s different from colds that bring on an upper respiratory tract infection, where you get a runny nose and sinus congestion. Those symptoms seem to be mostly absent for people with COVID-19, though they’re not unheard of.
The good news is that in China, most people who have gotten sick — about 80% — have had mild to moderate symptoms.
Given that, doctors feel that most people in the U.S. will be able to manage their symptoms at home. But if you have concerns or begin to show symptoms, call your doctor. Don’t go there before calling — that might spread the infection around the doctor’s office. They may be able to handle your needs over the phone.
Meanwhile, thorough hand washing, staying away from people who are sick and social distancing are the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.