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Sunday 29th March 2020

Coronavirus: 'Red eyes may be a tell-tale symptom someone has deadly virus'

Not a recognised symptom in UK government and NHS guidance

A nurse treating coronavirus patients in the US reckons 'red eyes' are a symptom of infection.

UK government and NHS guidance has repeatedly stressed that Brits should not leave home at all if they develop either a high temperature or a new, continuous cough.

Other symptoms associated with coronavirus include fatigue, body aches and pains, nasal congestion and stomach upsets.

There have also been reports that ENT UK - a group representing nose, throat and ear surgeons - say there is evidence from China, South Korea and Italy that coronavirus patients can also lose their taste of smell and taste.

Wash your hands and stay at home (Credit:

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But Chelsey Earnest, who works at the Life Care Center in Washington, told CNN she believes that the condition of a person’s eyes can also indicate whether they have caught coronavirus.

She also said she hadn’t seen any 'runny noses' in coronavirus sufferers, despite some claims this can be a symptom.

It's like they have red eye shadow on the outside of their eyes.

Chelsey said: "It is something that I witnessed in all of the patients.

"They have, like... 'allergy' eyes. The white part of the eye is not red. It's more like they have red eye shadow on the outside of their eyes."

Chelsey Earnest works at the Life Care Center in the US (Credit:

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She added: "We’ve had patients with red eyes as the only symptom that we saw and go to the hospital and pass away."

The medic - who has 20 years of experience as a nurse - also said other healthcare professionals pay attention to the claimed telltale symptom.

Chelsey recalled: "I’ve even had the disaster medical control physician say, 'Do they have the red eyes?'

"And I will say yes. And he'll say, 'I'll find you a bed.'

"It's just something about this, the way that it affects these patients."

Symptoms of coronavirus

Issues relating to eyes are not on the list of coronavirus symptoms endorsed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, it is reported the American Academy of Ophthalmology claimed on Sunday that coronavirus can cause conjunctivitis, inflaming eyelids.  

Find out more about the NHS and government information about the symptoms of coronavirus by clicking here.

And you can learn more about how to treat coronavirus at home at this link.

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