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What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Image Credit: AFP via Getty Images

Every day, we are hearing of more countries reporting a surge in coronavirus cases. This reminds us how volatile the situation is. Without a vaccine, we can never be free from the constant threat of getting infected.

While the majority of countries are easing restrictions, with the exception of some localized lockdowns in regions with a surge in cases, it is important to remind each other of the symptoms of COVID-19.

COVID-19 has a wide range of symptoms, from mild symptoms to severe. After exposure to the virus, symptoms will appear 2-14 days later. The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Dry Cough
  • Tiredness

Other symptoms that are not that common include:

  • Pains
  • Aches
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Discoloration of the toes or fingers
  • Skin rash

People of any age who experience fever, dry cough with difficulty breathing, chest pressure, or loss of speech should seek emergency medical care.

Around 80% of infected people, recover without the need for treatment at a hospital. They usually need to stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days, even if they feel perfectly well. This is important, as the virus way of transmission is through small droplets from the nose or mouth. These droplets exit a person’s nose or mouth, whenever the person sneezes, coughs and talks. Since the droplets are slightly heavy, they would not travel far, and therefore quickly fall to the ground. This is the reason why social distancing is of utmost importance. Keeping a safe distance of 2 metre from one another might prevent an individual from getting infected. Since these droplets can fall on any surface, it is important that whenever a surface is touched, such as a doorknobs,lift buttons, tables and handrails, hands are immediately cleaned. This must be done by washing hands with soap using the 20-second rule, or else using an alcohol based hand rub (70% alcohol). If hand washing is not possible, (which should never be the case- you should always carry an alcohol hand rub) the individual must never touch their face, nose or mouth.

The best way to protect oneself is by regular hand washing, wearing a mask and follow social distancing rules.

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