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Coronavirus symptoms and affected organs: what we know
The respiratory system, kidneys, heart, brain, skin… The coronavirus gives rise to various symptoms (cough, headaches, loss of taste and smell, diarrhea, nausea, redness, hives…) and impacts various organs. Here are the signs of coronavirus to be taken into account.
1. What are the symptoms to watch for?
2. How long do the symptoms last?
3. In the case of symptoms, how is Covid-19 diagnosed?
4.Coronavirus: What are the risks if symptoms occur?
5. What are the symptoms of coronavirus in children?
6. What should I do if I have symptoms?
7.Coronavirus and kidneys: a risk of kidney failure?
8.Hives, redness, frostbite… Dermatological symptoms of coronavirus?
9.Any neurological symptoms?
10.Conjunctivitis: a symptom of coronavirus?
11.Coronavirus or allergic rhinitis?
12.Digestive disorders and diarrhea
13.No fever, no cough: can I have the coronavirus?
14. Without having any symptoms, can I have coronavirus?
15. Can you get it from someone who has no symptoms?
16.A highly contagious virus
17. What is the incubation period of the coronavirus?
18. Coronavirus or flu? How can you tell the difference?
19. What treatment for coronavirus symptoms?
20.Confinement: what psychological disorders?
The epidemic in the USA has resulted in more than 54 deaths and ONE MILLION confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus. Over the past two weeks, the number of people hospitalized has fallen thanks to the large number of people discharged from the hospital. The median age of people hospitalized in intensive care is 58 years (50% are under 58 years old and 50% are over 58 years old). The observed increase in the number of patients in intensive care, excluding COVID, demonstrates the need for monitoring and treatment of patients with chronic diseases as well as emergency management of serious acute pathologies, underlines the Ministry of Health.
What are the symptoms to watch for?
The incubation period of the new coronavirus, i.e. the time between infection and the appearance of the first symptoms, is about 3 to 7 days, according to the latest publications of Santé Publique France. The main symptoms to watch for are fever and signs of respiratory difficulties such as coughing or shortness of breath.
- A fever above 37.5°C,
- A dry or wet cough,
- Breathing signs such as coughing, tightness, and/or chest pain, sometimes with shortness of breath (dyspnea).
- Aches and pains,
- Unusual fatigue,
How do you recognize a respiratory gene?
If the symptoms worsen with respiratory genes: shortness of breath, fast, slow, noisy breathing, discomfort to breathe at rest.
How long do the symptoms last?
How long is one ill? As far as we know, symptoms last from a few days to a maximum of two weeks. Questioned by Top Santé, Jacques Battistoni specifies that in a certain number of cases, the symptoms worsen or evolve (appearance of headaches, rise in fever, for example) from the second week onwards. If the symptoms worsen with respiratory genes: shortness of breath, fast, slow, noisy breathing, discomfort to breathe at rest.
How long do the symptoms last?
How long is one ill? As far as we know, symptoms last from a few days to a maximum of two weeks. Questioned by Top Santé, Jacques Battistoni specifies that in a certain number of cases, the symptoms worsen or evolve (appearance of headaches, rise in fever, for example) from the second week onwards. In case of doubt, contact your doctor or make a teleconsultation.
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How is Covid-19 diagnosed if there are symptoms?
Since the passage to stage 3, the principle is no longer to test systematically. Tests are reserved in priority for four types of populations:
people who are frail due to pathology and those over 70 years old, presenting symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, at risk of developing complications (respiratory insufficiency, immunosuppressed),
the first 2 cases presenting symptoms in medical-social structures (retirement homes in particular),
hospitalized individuals with symptoms suggestive of Covid-19,
health care professionals with symptoms
Until now, testing for coronavirus has only been carried out in hospitals. Now they can be carried out, in theory, in any city laboratory, provided a medical prescription is available. In practice, the test is carried out using a nasopharyngeal swab placed in the nostrils to collect a sample. The delay to get a result is between 3 and 5 hours.
Coronavirus: what are the risks in case of symptoms?
To date, the most severe cases seem to concern mainly people who are vulnerable because of their age or associated diseases. In these cases, the patient may suffer from acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute renal failure, or even multi-visceral failure that can lead to death.
Approximately 15% of the cases observed result in complications and 5% of these require hospitalization in intensive care. The risk factors most often associated with severe forms are age, hypertension (and cardiovascular pathologies), diabetes, and overweight.
Coronavirus and diabetes: type 1 or 2 diabetics are more at risk, due to the “permanent rise in blood sugar levels” that can “alter the immune system”, explains the French association of diabetics. In the same way as conversely, infections can unbalance blood sugar levels and/or aggravate certain complications of diabetes already present.
Coronavirus and hypertension: high blood pressure does not predispose to Covid-19. Although higher mortality has been noted in hypertensive patients, this may be more related to the higher age of these patients. Nevertheless, according to the High Council of Public Health, patients who suffer from “complicated hypertension” (has already led to a stroke or infarction) are considered at risk of severe coronavirus.
Coronavirus and overweight: “obesity on the one hand, and overweight on the other” can be a risk factor for severe coronavirus infection, said Prof. Salomon on 7 April. According to the national registry of severe forms of coronavirus (data from 2000 sick patients), 83% are overweight or obese, often with diabetes or hypertension.
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Coronavirus and pregnant women: according to current knowledge, pregnant women are generally fragile subjects and require a great deal of attention. According to the Ministry of Health: “the first information on the impact of the coronavirus on pregnant women and the fetus is however reassuring”. Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure, the High Council of Public Health has classified pregnant women from the 3rd trimester onwards as being at risk. They must be vigilant, carefully respect barrier gestures, and remain confined. After giving birth, the recommendations are to isolate “the mother and her child in a single room” and to leave 2 meters between the mother’s bed and the child’s cradle.
Coronavirus and asthma: asthmatics are among those at risk, but there is no need to panic, as confirmed by the association Asthma and allergies: “asthmatics are no more likely to be contaminated by the Covid-19 coronavirus than the rest of the population (provided that asthma is well controlled)”, on the other hand, she adds, they are “more likely to develop respiratory complications in the event of contamination”. Beware! Following the alert of the Ministry of Health, concerning the anti-inflammatory drugs to be replaced by paracetamol in case of symptoms (sore throat, fever…), asthmatics should not stop their treatment! Taking inhaled corticoids is not at risk. As for corticoids in tablet form, “the minimum dose to control asthma should be continued, as advised by your doctor.”
Coronavirus and cancer: Because of the treatments, which can lower the immune system, the risk of contracting Covid-19 is increased. So is the risk of developing a severe form. It is, therefore, necessary to limit contact with the outside world as much as possible, while continuing treatment and staying in contact with your doctor.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus in children?
Since the beginning of the epidemic, children and adolescents seem to be relatively spared. Scientists speak of a “paucisymptomatic” viral infection – i.e. with very few symptoms. According to a study published in JAMA on February 24, “only” 2% of children and adolescents under 19 years of age were among the cases in China. Moreover, the French Paediatric Society (SFP) specifies that “the most severe cases are observed in the elderly and with co-morbidities”.
What to do in case of symptoms?
This online test helps to assess symptoms to know what to do in case of suspicion of Covid-19 (coronavirus). It is supported by a team of engineers and doctors, under the medical direction of Doctors Anne-Laure Rousseau and Stanislas, an infectiologist. This “symptom checker” is simple to use and is entirely based on the health recommendations for referral of suspected Covid-19 cases updated daily by the Ministry of Health. Coronavirus or not? Take the test.
Coronavirus and kidneys: a risk of kidney failure?
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The head of the Department of Nephrology at Ohio University observes that after the respiratory system and the brain, a new organ would be affected by the coronavirus. According to him, Covid-19 would attack the kidneys of patients, even though they did not suffer from kidney disease before being contaminated. He says
It states that “some patients may develop chronic kidney failure”.
Hives, rashes, frostbite… Dermatological symptoms of coronavirus?
The National Union of Dermatologist-Veterologists is sounding the alarm via a press release. A WhatsApp group of over 400 dermatologists has identified dermatological symptoms, whether or not associated with signs of COVID. “These are acrosyndromes (the appearance of pseudo-frostbite of the extremities), sudden onset of persistent redness, sometimes painful, and temporary urticaria lesions.” They note that for patients with skin problems of this type, it is necessary to consult a dermatologist (teleconsultation or other), “in order to ensure that they are associated with COVID+ syndrome”. Asked about the subject, the Director-General of Health, said on 8 April that he still had “no evidence that it is a sign of Covid-19”.
Loss of sense of smell and taste
The Department of Health has updated the Covid-19 symptom list. It states that “sudden loss of sense of smell (ageusia), without nasal obstruction and total disappearance of taste (anosmia)” are symptoms that have been observed in patients. In case of loss of smell or taste, advice should be sought from an ENT or a doctor by telephone or teleconsultation.
Can the coronavirus reach our brain? Brain damage was first described in Radiology. The medical journal describes the first suspected case of COVID-19-associated encephalopathy reported by Prof. Brent Griffith and his team from the Department of Radiology at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan. Moreover, according to a New York Times article, rare patients have developed symptoms of convulsions or strokes.
Conjunctivitis: a symptom of the coronavirus?
As early as March 6, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) had issued an alert to professionals: patients consulting for conjunctivitis could be suffering from the coronavirus. A Chinese study published in the Journal of medical virology suggested that coronavirus can infect the conjunctiva and that viral particles are present in eye secretions. For this reason, do not touch your eyes after touching a potentially soiled object or after touching an infected person.
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Coronavirus or allergic rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is characterized by very specific symptoms: clear discharge from the nose, sneezing, itching of the nose and eyes, etc. These symptoms are quite different from those of the coronavirus. On the other hand, there are no headaches, fever or aches and pains. The Asthma and Allergies Association specifies: “only think about the Covid-19 coronavirus if your symptoms are different from those usually felt”. At the slightest doubt, contact your doctor and in case of difficulties to breathe, do it on the 15th.
Digestive disorders and diarrhea
Symptoms of Covid-19 are mostly suggestive of respiratory infection (fever, cough), but digestive symptoms have also been observed in some confirmed cases. This atypical coronavirus symptom was “primarily in the elderly”. But not that: according to a Chinese study, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology highlights and conducted on 204 patients with an average age of 55 years, 48.5% went to the hospital for digestive disorders: diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, before being tested positive for Covid-19.
No fever or cough: can I have the coronavirus?
Can the coronavirus give mild, mild symptoms without fever or cough? The first thing to know is that when there are symptoms, the clinical picture is not always complete. Concretely, one can present certain symptoms and not others. According to an international study, whose objective was to estimate the number of unnoticed cases in Hubei in China, dry cough was absent one out of three times.
As for fever, while it is almost always present, it is not necessarily there in the first few days. As Dr. Jacques Battistoni, a Top Santé researcher, explains to Top Santé, the fever is variable: “it can be very mild at the beginning (around 37.5°C) and then rise sharply in the second week”.
Can one be contaminated without having any symptoms?
Our bodies, depending on our immunity, our age, and our associated pathologies, do not all react in the same way to the virus. The most fragile are considered “people at risk”, and there are specific recommendations for care in these situations. Other people, particularly children, develop few or no symptoms.
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Can you become infected through contact with someone who has no symptoms?
Several studies have been published on this subject since the beginning of the epidemic, including a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on a German case, who was allegedly contaminated by an asymptomatic person. Other studies have in the meantime called this study into question.
“The risk of being contaminated through contact with a person who has no symptoms is very low,” says the WHO.
According to the Ministry of Health, the coronavirus is contagious before being symptomatic, meaning that an infected person who does not feel any symptoms can infect other people. Nevertheless, as the Director of Health, Jérôme Salomon, pointed out, a healthy carrier is necessarily less contagious since he does not cough (the virus is transmitted through droplets emitted during coughing and sneezing): “There has been a lot of discussion about whether it is possible to be contagious by being asymptomatic. Which in the end is something quite unlikely. Because to be contagious you still have to excrete droplets, i.e. cough, sneeze. And so someone who has no symptoms could be a carrier, but ultimately has little means of spreading the virus.”
A highly contagious virus
CoV-2-SARS is highly contagious: each infected person in the presence of 100 people will infect at least 3 people in the absence of protective measures. This is the same contagiousness of a cold, but much less contagiousness than measles (8). But if the coronavirus is highly contagious, it is mainly because it spreads in an unimmunized and unvaccinated population. Unlike influenza, there is no immunological barrier to limit its spread (our immune defenses persist from one year to the next).
What is the incubation period of Covid-19?
The incubation period of the COVID-19 coronavirus is generally 3 to 5 days, but it can extend up to 14 days. During the incubation period, one can be contagious, i.e. one can carry the virus before the onset of symptoms or at the onset of weak signals.
However, it is not known how long you can detect the virus in a person who is no longer sick.
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Coronavirus or flu? How can you tell the difference?
The problem is that the symptoms described above also correspond to classic flu symptoms. However, explains Daniel Camus, a specialist in infectious and emerging diseases at the Pasteur Institute of Lille, to Top Santé on 26 February, that in the case of influenza, the signs are a little different. “In the flu, what is striking is that it comes on you suddenly. Symptoms appear suddenly, and patients can often even give the exact time. With the flu, there is also very often severe pain in the muscles and joints. These two signs are not typical for coronavirus infection.”
“The Covid-19 virus is not the flu virus”, Jerome Salomon said at a press briefing on March 10, before specifying that he does not have the profile, nor even the signs. “The signs are not those of the flu, the affected profiles are not the same.”
=> In any case, if your condition worsens, if you have trouble breathing, contact the 15th.
What treatment for coronavirus symptoms?
In case of cough, fever, stay strictly confined until you are cured, avoid contact with other people. Your children and spouse should also remain confined.
Monitor your temperature morning and evening and if necessary take paracetamol (respecting the dosage).
Do not go to your doctor, medical lab, or emergency room.
If necessary, call your attending physician or a physician by teleconsultation.
It is possible to receive a notice, a prescription, a work stoppage by calling your attending physician, or the duty physician.
If your condition worsens, and you have difficulty breathing or feel out of breath, contact the SAMU center 15 immediately.
NO AUTOMEDICATION: The Ministry of Health reminds us that “the treatment of poorly tolerated fever or pain in the context of COVID-19 or other respiratory virosis is based on paracetamol, without exceeding the dose of 60 mg/kg/day and 3 g per day. NSAIDs should be avoided, and corticosteroids should be avoided without strict medical indication”.
There is no treatment for coronavirus, so treatment consists of relieving symptoms (pain, fever) with paracetamol and hydration in case of fever. Rest, natural solutions (herbal teas, lemon, honey…) do not cure but help to better support the symptoms. No antiviral treatment is currently validated and available on the market.
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Confinement: what psychological disorders?
In China, the epicenter of the epidemic, several studies have been conducted to understand the psychological impact of confinement on the population. A study published in General Psychiatry and carried out on 52,000 people in 36 Chinese provinces concluded that due to containment, 35% of respondents suffered from “moderate psychological stress” and 5% from “severe psychological stress”. According to this study, these disorders are more common among women, individuals between 18 and 30 years of age, and those over 60 years of age. According to a review of more than 3,000 previous publications, published in The Lancet, when the confinement period lasts more than 10 days, post-traumatic symptoms, avoidance behaviors, and anger are likely to appear.
Anxiety-related to the virus and the anxiety generated by symptoms and social isolation generates stress. Specialists advise keeping family, friends, and professional interactions to a minimum… via telephone, messaging, and even support groups.
Ministry of Health / Institut Pasteur / WHO / Interview (26 February) with Daniel Camus, infectiologist Institut Pasteur Lille / Interview with Dr. Jacques Battistoni.
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