According to the NHS, you should self-isolate if you have a high temperature or a new, continuous cough but there are actually several first symptoms of coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, that you should look out for.
It’s thought that thousands of Brits could have coronavirus without even realising so it’s important to be aware of the first symptoms of the virus.
It can take five to 14 days for someone with coronavirus to start experiencing symptoms.
What are the first symptoms of coronavirus?
A headache, loss of smell and taste and digestive problems are just some of the first symptoms of coronavirus that many of us are unaware of. Others include tiredness, aches and a runny nose.
Many people will only experience mild symptoms, and it’s thought that the first symptoms of COVID-19 are often very similar to the beginnings of a cold or flu.
As the virus begins attacking your respiratory system, you may experience headaches.
Dancing On Ice star Matt Evers, presenter Fiona Phillips and Emmerdale star John Bow all have suspected coronavirus and have spoken about experiencing a headache along with other symptoms.
John Bowe tweeted: “Will this headache ever stop?”
Loss of smell and taste
ENT UK, a group representing nose, throat and ear surgeons, say there is evidence from China, South Korea and Italy that coronavirus sufferers lose their taste of smell and taste, often before experiencing other side effects.
Professor Nirmal Kumar, head of ENT UK , said you should self-isolate if you lose these sensations even if you have no other symptoms.
He told Sky News: “In young patients, they do not have any significant symptoms such as the cough and fever, but they may have just the loss of sense of smell and taste, which suggests that these viruses are lodging in the nose.”
The Daily Mail reports that a study of 204 patients in Wuhan, where the COVID-19 outbreak started, found 99 patients (48.5 per cent) went to hospital with digestive issues, including diarrhoea, vomiting and loss of appetite as their main ailment.
The majority also has respiratory problems but there were some patients who tested positive for the virus with no other symptoms than digestive issues.
According to the World Health Organisation, one of the main the symptoms of coronavirus that is easily missed is fatigue, reports the Daily Express.
Health experts say feeling rundown, having no energy and extreme tiredness are all common symptoms of coronavirus.
The Harvard Medical School says a runny nose could be a symptom of coronavirus, according to the Daily Express.
However, it appears sufferers generally have other symptoms as well. A runny nose on its own, for example, could simply be a symptom of seasonal allergies.
The virus can be spread by sneezing so it’s important to sneeze into a tissue, discard straight away and wash your hands.
The majority of those who believe they are suffering with coronavirus have cited feeling achy and general muscle pain as one of their symptoms.
When news of Tom Hanks and his wife Rita being diagnosed broke, Tom explained how the illness begun: “We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too.”
The NHS website describes a continuous cough as “coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.”
If you usually have a cough, a worse one than normal could be a symptom of coronavirus.
A high temperature, where you feel hot to touch on your chest or back is one of the main symptoms of coronavirus.
What should I do if I think I have coronavirus?
If you think you have coronavirus, the official advice from the government and the NHS is to stay at home for seven days.
Anyone who lives with you will need to stay at home for 14 days to make sure they don’t develop symptoms and to avoid them spreading the disease.
It’s advised to stay away from GP surgeries, pharmacies and to not go to hospital – call 111 or use the online 111 coronavirus service if your symptoms worsen or you feel you cannot cope at home.
Those with mild symptoms of coronavirus will not be tested – a ‘normal’ healthy person’s immune system will fight off the disease as there is currently no treatment available.
It’s advised to take paracetamol and drink lots of water. Do not take ibruprofen.
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