Detect Coronavirus Infection: These Are The Symptoms
The coronavirus spreads rapidly worldwide. The numbers are growing exponentially. A virologist speaks of new symptoms related to the dangerous pathogen. An overview of the symptoms, protection against infection and advice on when to call a doctor.
According to the RKI, the new coronavirus appears to be associated with a more severe course. So far, deaths have mainly occurred in patients who have previously suffered from serious underlying diseases. According to the current status, it is typical of the novel coronavirus that the upper respiratory tract is hardly affected. For example, there is no runny nose.
The incubation period of the new coronavirus behind the lung disease in China is usually around ten days. However, the director of the National Health Commission, Ma Xiaowei, reported that the shortest registered period was just one day – the longest 14 days.
Loss of smell and taste: Virologist discovers new symptoms
In addition, Bonn’s virologist Hendrik Streeck discovered new symptoms that some of the infected people have. “We recorded the symptoms and discovered new ones as a result,” says the researcher in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
In the Heinsberg district in North Rhine-Westphalia, which is particularly affected by the coronavirus, he and his team went from house to house. “I’m probably the virologist who saw the most patients here in Germany,” said Streeck.
Almost all infected people that he and his team had interviewed described a loss of smell and taste lasting several days. “It goes so far that a mother could not smell the full diaper of her child,” says the specialist in virology and infection epidemiology.
“Others couldn’t smell their shampoo anymore and food started to taste bland.” It is not yet possible to say exactly when these symptoms occur. “However, we believe that the infection will occur a little later,” says Streeck.
Together with his colleagues, the virologist said he interviewed more than 100 infected people. The typical Covid 19 patient showed only mild symptoms. According to Streeck, a Chinese study from the metropolis of Shenzhen came to the same conclusion and found that 91 per cent of those infected show only mild to moderate symptoms.
These usually showed up in the form of dry, irritable cough, possibly in connection with fever. “We also suffered from a loss of smell and taste. In 30 per cent of cases, our infected people also had diarrhoea, which is more common than previously thought,” says Streeck.
Caution: You can be infected with the coronavirus even without symptoms
If symptoms of coronavirus occur, it is important, according to the Robert Koch Institute, not to see the doctor personally in the practice, but first to make telephone contact. This distinguishes the new variant of the coronavirus from the closely related SARS pathogen that triggered the 2002/2003 pandemic.
A study in the Journal Lancet had previously shown that the virus can also be passed on by people who do not yet have any cold symptoms. The researchers referred to a family in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. Two members were in contact with a sick relative in the hospital in Wuhan. In the end, six family members had the virus, including one that wasn’t even in Wuhan. An infected child showed no symptoms.
As the RKI emphasizes, many properties of the novel coronavirus “SARS-CoV-2” are currently not exactly known, for example, the period of highest infectivity (infectivity), the exact length of time until symptoms are visible after infection in an infected person (incubation period ) how severe the disease is or how long the infected virus is excreted or still contagious.
Protection against the coronavirus: everyone is responsible
To protect yourself against the coronavirus, good hand hygiene should be ensured. This means that frequent and thorough washing of the hands, wrists, spaces between fingers and the nail bed are mandatory. In addition, a distance of one to two meters should be kept from the sick and the cough and sneeze labels adhered to. It is recommended to use disposable handkerchiefs, as well as to sneeze in the crook of the arm and to turn away from other people. In view of the seasonal flu wave, these recommendations are generally advisable everywhere and at any time, according to the “RKI”.
Coronavirus: are face and breathing masks useful?
So-called surgical face masks are actually not made to protect against infection, Salzberger explains. Rather, they should ensure that no potentially infectious droplets enter the surgical area from the respiratory tract of surgeons. It makes sense to wear a mask to protect other people, for example, like a flu patient. “But the protection against infection from the outside is very, very bad with it,” said Salzberger. The effect is no better than with a scarf in front of the mouth and nose.