For the media

The top 5 symptoms of COVID-19

By The Health News Team | October 29, 2020
Illustrations of COVID-19 symptoms

Whether you are heading into a store, classroom, health care setting or any number of businesses, you might be required to have your temperature taken before entry. This is a result of the early belief that everyone who has COVID-19 has a fever. Taking people’s temperature, identifying those with a fever and not allowing them entry is meant to prevent the spread of the disease.

While fever is a common symptom of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — not everyone with COVID-19 experiences fever and chills. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people can have symptoms ranging from mild to severe. In fact, some people are asymptomatic, which means they don’t have or recognize signs of the illness because they are so mild.

A study published in the summer looked at data from nearly 150 studies in nine countries to determine the most common symptoms found in more than 24,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19. And while fever was the most prevalent among the cases, other symptoms stood out too.

Top 5 COVID-19 symptoms

Here are the percentages of people who experienced the most common COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Fever — 78%

  • Cough — 57%

  • Fatigue — 31%

  • Loss of smell — 25%

  • Difficulty breathing — 23%

The CDC reports that people with COVID-19 may also experience:

  • Chills

  • Headaches

  • Muscle aches

  • Loss of taste

  • Loss of appetite

  • Sore throat

  • Runny nose

  • Congestion

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

Symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure to the coronavirus, and children often experience milder symptoms than adults. However, a small percentage of children and adults experience multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a rare, life-threatening condition that can cause dangerous inflammation in the eyes, skin, blood vessels and heart.

Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the common or rare symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case.

Seek emergency medical care immediately by calling 911 or heading to the nearest emergency room if you have trouble breathing; pain or pressure in the chest; sudden confusion; the inability to wake up; or bluish lips or face.

Learn what Sharp HealthCare is doing in response to COVID-19.

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