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Researchers discover most common symptom of COVID-19 and it's not a dry cough

Health - By Mirror | November 25th 2020 at 09:30:00 GMT +0300
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The dry cough long associated with Covid-19 is not the most common symptom of the disease.

As scientists and medics have studied the deadly condition throughout the year, their understanding of it has grown immensely.

Warnings early in the year to watch out for a fever and a dry, tickly cough preceded reports of people losing their sense of smell and taste.

Upset stomachs, fatigue and brain fog were also found to be commonly occurring symptoms.

The latest data compiled by researchers at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows which symptom is the most often reporters by sufferers of Covid-19.

They reveal that the most commonly reported symptom among those who have tested positive for the bug is a loss of sense of smell or taste - called anosmia.

Among over 35-year-olds, between 20 and 40% of sufferers had anosmia, compared to around 15 to 25% of that group having a fever and 13 to 18% having a cough.

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The difference was even more pronounced among younger people, with as many as 60% of under 35s having ansomia, compared to around 15 to 25% having a fever, and less than 10% having a cough.

Graphs published by the ONS show the change in reported symptoms (Image: Office for National Statistics)

The overall picture painted by the data is that from August 15 to October 26 the number of people testing positive for Covid with symptoms of loss of taste or smell increased the most in all age groups.

School-aged children are the least likely to suffer a cough, the data reveals.

The report stats: "The positivity rate for school-aged children with cough symptoms has remained low over the period (currently around 5 per cent) whilst the rate for others aged under 35 years and those 35 years and over has steadily increased to around 10 per cent to 15 per cent.

"This suggests cough is a less specific symptom to Covid-19 in school-aged children.

"People testing positive are generally more likely to have symptoms of loss of taste or smell, and fever."

It has been clear to scientists for some time that children and adults suffer from the coronavirus in different ways.

Data collected by the King's College app showed that 52% of school aged children who tested positive for virus did not log classic adult symptoms.

A third of children who tested positive never logged any of the 20 symptoms listed in the app, meaning they are asymptomatic.

The importance of knowing which symptoms are most likely to betray a coronavirus case is that it can help people to avoid spreading the bug.

The official advice is that if you develop any of these signs you should self-isolate and order a test immediately.

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