Coronavirus has been met with a string of countermeasures since it first arrived in the UK in late January. The lockdown, which has just been extended to May 7, has been the government’s most decisive measure to date, and evidence suggests it is bearing fruit. The fatality rate in the UK appears to be dropping, with England recording its lowest daily death count today (405) since the beginning of April.
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Despite the green shoots, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is resisting calls to relax the lockdown measures, for fear that a second wave of infection could strike if the UK acts prematurely.
The same can be said for staying alert to the warning signs of the virus.
The NHS identifies the main symptoms as a high temperature and a new, continuous cough, so if you do not recognise these warning signs, you may be under the impression that you have not come into contact with COVID-19.
However, there are a number of additional symptoms that can occur without respiratory-related issues.
According to Harvard Health, people with COVID-19 are also experiencing neurological symptoms, gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, or both.
As the health body explains, these may occur with or without respiratory symptoms.
Specific neurological symptoms seen in people with COVID-19 include loss of smell, inability to taste, muscle weakness or tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, notes the health site.
What counts as gastrointestinal symptoms?
Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain or discomfort have been reported in patients with COVID-19, it says.
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What should I do if I recognise these symptoms?
If you spot mild symptoms or live with someone who does, health bodies are urging you to stay at home from the moment they appear.
This policy, called self-isolation, is aimed at reducing the rate for transmission from person to person.
According to the NHS, if you are self-isolating, you must:
- Not leave your home for any reason – if you need food or medicine, order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
- Not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
“You can use your garden, if you have one. Any exercise should be taken at home,” says the health site.
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How long must I self-isolate for?
According to official health advice, if you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for seven days.
After seven days:
- If you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to self-isolate
- If you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal
You do not need to self-isolate if you just have a cough after seven days, however.
The NHS explains: “A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.”
Coronavirus – what we know so far
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.
In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
There is currently no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019.
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