LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Researchers from the University of Southern California announced on Thursday that they have found the probable order in which the symptoms of COVID-19 first appear.
According to a new study, people who become infected with the virus first develop a fever, followed by cough and muscle aches, then nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.
Scientists say knowing the order of symptoms of COVID-19 can help people who have become infected with the virus know when to seek care and can help them decide to isolate themselves more quickly – preventing further its spread.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, was led by PhD students Joseph Larsen and scientists Peter Kuhn and James Hicks of the Convergent Science Institute at the USC Michelson Cancer Center.
The information can also help doctors rule out other illnesses and allow them to better treat patients earlier in their illness – likely to improve outcomes.
“This order is especially important to know when we have overlapping cycles of diseases such as influenza that coincide with COVID-19 infections,” said Kuhn, a professor of medicine, biomedical engineering, and space and mechanical engineering in the United States. “Physicians can determine what steps to take to care for a patient, and they can prevent the patient’s condition from deteriorating.”
Researchers say fever and cough are often linked to a variety of respiratory illnesses, including the flu, Middle East respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory syndrome, but said time and additional symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract separate COVID-19.
“The order of the symptoms matters,” Larsen said. “Knowing that each disease progresses differently means that doctors can more quickly identify if someone is likely to have COVID-19 or another disease that can help them make better treatment decisions.”
To determine the duration of COVID symptoms, the study authors analyzed more than 55,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus collected by the World Health Organization in China from February 16 to 24. They also studied a set of data on nearly 1,100 cases collected by the Medical Treatment Expert Group in China through the National Health Commission of China on December 11. 29.
The researchers also examined data from 2,470 cases of influenza in North America, Europe and the Southern Hemisphere, reported between 1994 and 1998, to compare the order of symptoms of COVID-19 with those of the common flu.
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