Here Are The Coronavirus Symptoms You Need to Monitor

How similar are they to the flu?


Adrianna Freedman |

What began as an unknown sickness in one part of the world has now threatened to become a pandemic, creating worldwide concern. Since this new coronavirus, which causes the disease known as COVID-19, was first detected in December 2019, the new virus has spread rapidly globally, causing quarantinesfluctuation in the stock market, and an overarching global unease.

Part of the sense of unease stems from the fact that some of the coronavirus symptoms can seem so similar to those of the flu, confusing people everywhere about whether they are just battling flu or if it could be something more dangerous.

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus disease?

According to the CDCthose with the 2019 strain of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 have respiratory symptoms that could range from a mild cold and flu-like symptoms to something more severe. The confirmed symptoms that the CDC reports are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

“About 80% of people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms when it strikes,” says Robert Glatter, M.D., Men’s Health advisor and emergency physician at Lenox Hill. “The most common presenting symptom is fever, followed by cough, shortness of breath, myalgias [muscle aches] and headache. It may be difficult to distinguish the flu from COVID-19 in the initial stages of illness. That’s where diagnostic testing may prove useful.”

“That said,” he added, “the symptoms of influenza are generally more severe and abrupt in onset. We typically see sudden onset of fever, chills, back pain, muscle aches and fatigue.”

The WHO also reports that people may also have non-specific symptoms such as a sore throat, nasal congestion, malaise, and headaches.

The new coronavirus can be dangerous in some cases; a study from the China CDC Weekly reports that 20 percent of the cases that have been confirmed are classified as either “severe” or “critical,” with an estimated fatality rate of about two percent. Be aware that this also means 80 percent of the cases are mild.

The CDC also explains that it takes 2 to 14 days for the symptoms to develop, so you should call your doctor if you’ve travelled to one of the areas of concern specified by the organization as or have been in close contact with someone traveling in these locations. Also call your doctor if you have symptoms.

Related: 3 Dangerous Coronavirus Myths You May Have Seen Online

Which countries are affected with the virus?

As of Thursday, 5 March, according to worldometers.info/coronavirus/ the majority of cases have shown up within the Western Pacific region of the world, with origins of this particular strain coming from China. Some of the 87 countries with confirmed cases include Italy, Australia, the Philippines, Germany, Israel, the U.S, and now South Africa.

People who are presumably healthy should take precautions to get good information about the disease and protect yourself. That, of course, includes staying home from work or school if you’re not feeling 100 percent healthy, and checking in with your doctor if you are concerned you have been exposed to the new coronavirus.

The CDC also recommends that you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (the amount of time it would take to sing “Happy Birthday” twice) after using the restroom, sneezing, blowing your nose and before you eat anything. It is also recommended to not touch your eyes, mouth and nose.

Related: Washing Your Hands Can Prevent Coronavirus. Here’s the Right Way to Do It.

This article originally appeared on menshealth.com

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