CDC adds nausea, diarrhea, and congestion to the list of common coronavirus symptoms
- In the earliest days of the pandemic, the CDC listed only three coronavirus symptoms: fever, cough, and shortness of breath
- Now that list has grown to 12 symptoms with the recent addition of three
- Diarrhea, nausea, and congestion or runny nose were added, although it is not entirely clear when
- About a third of patients – especially young ones – may have GI symptoms of COVID-19
- About half of all new cases in the US are now diagnosed in younger people
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seem to have added runny or sneezing, nausea, and diarrhea to the list of coronavirus symptoms.
It is unclear when the three latest additions were made to the agency’s now 12-item long list of COVID-19 characters.
That means that there are now four times as many potential indicators of the virus compared to the early days of the pandemic in the US, when officials considered only fever, cough and breathlessness to be credible evidence of coronavirus.
In particular, gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and nausea are more commonly reported by younger patients, among whom cases have risen in recent weeks since the states began to reopen.
The CDC has now added gastrointestinal symptoms of diarrhea and nausea to the list of coronavirus signs, in addition to runny nose or congestion and nine previously mentioned symptoms (file)
CDC officials are now among the signs and symptoms of COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body pain
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
As scientists have studied the coronavirus and doctors have seen more and more patients, it has become increasingly clear that the virus has many different effects on the body.
When the pandemic started, everyone without a fever was told they were unlikely to become infected.
People who were without those first three primary symptoms or a very likely exposure to coronavirus were actively and adamantly discouraged from being tested.
You might expect the list of symptoms and vulnerable people of a disease to narrow as more is learned about it, but the coronavirus has followed in the opposite direction.
Last week, the CDC expanded its list of who is at risk for coronavirus to include people with chronic conditions such as kidney disease, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and sickle cell disease.
Pregnant women are now also at greater risk of a more serious infection.
And as many as half of all people with coronavirus can be asymptomatic.
Still, including additional symptoms can increase the likelihood that Americans will recognize that they may be sick, get tested for coronavirus, and isolate themselves.
Although coronavirus is a respiratory virus, researchers noted early on that gastrointestinal symptoms were common, but often missed in coronavirus patients.
Scientists at Stanford University noted in a study in early April that as many as a third of patients had diarrhea or nausea.
These symptoms were more common in younger patients, who now make up about half of all new cases, the White House Coronavirus Task Force said last week
Coronavirus becomes dangerous because it makes its way to the lower regions of the lungs and causes potentially life-threatening pneumonia, so initially doctors thought the effects on the upper respiratory tract were negligible.
It is now clear that the nasal cavity is rich in the ACE2 receptors through which the coronavirus infects cells and the CDC has included a runny nose or congestion as symptoms of the infection.