Coronavirus symptoms has been restricted to two tell-tale signs, according to the NHS: a cough and fever. Now, loss of smell and taste has joined. What could be next?
The NHS states the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) include a high temperature – meaning you feel “hot to touch” on your chest or back.
It adds that a “new, continuous cough” – described as “coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours” – is another symptom of COVID-19.
And the health body has recently formalised another symptom that has been reported on for months.
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Now a “loss or change to your sense of smell and taste” has been listed to the NHS’s recognised symptoms of COVID-19.
The health body goes on to explain that “this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal”.
This addition to the NHS list of symptoms was made on Monday, May 18.
It’s recommended to use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if you’re presenting any of these symptoms.
Another, lesser-known symptom of COVID-19 may be delirium and confusion.
A study published in The Lancet – the same day the “loss of smell and taste” was added to the UK’s list – claimed delirium could be rife among coronavirus patients.
Seemingly affecting the seriously ill, the team of researchers investigated a small sample of intensive care patients who tested positive for the virus.
In more than 60 percent of those cases, there was evidence of confusion and agitation.
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Professor Gitte Moos Knudsen, chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurobiology Research Unit at Copenhagen University Hospital, explained this finding.
He said: “Any condition associated with hospitalisation, fever, depletion of sensory inputs – particularly in the elderly – carries an increased risk for delirium.”
The professor continued: “In COVID-19 patients that have been artificially ventilated, a PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder] condition may arise.
“But we do not have evidence that the frequency is higher in COVID-19 patients than in any other disorder.”
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Dr Michael Bloomfield, consultant psychiatrist and head of Translational Psychiatry Research Group University College London, gave the study his nod of approval.
He added: “This study provides further evidence that the harm caused by COVID-19 extends beyond the widely reported effects on the lungs.
“This study tells us that Covid can have profound effects on mental health.”
And the professor of Dementia Research at the University of Nottingham, Tom Dening, highlighted the value of The Lancet study.
“The authors draw attention to how delirium is an important and common feature in people admitted to hospital with coronaviruses,” he began.
“In some situations, probably more so in older people, delirium may even be the presenting feature of a severe COVID-19 infection.
“So, it’s important that health professionals and care home staff are aware of his possibility.”
Will delirium eventually make the cut on the UK’s slow-growing official list of COVID-19 symptoms?
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