Two years into the pandemic, and nine new symptoms of the Covid infection have emerged in the UK. According to a BBC report, the UK Health Security Agency’s updated guidance listed the new symptoms that include sore throat, muscle pains and diarrhoea, among others.
The National Health Service (NHS) has warned that the new symptoms “are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu”.
The report stated that the original signs of Covid recognised in the UK were:
– New continuous cough
– Loss of sense of smell or taste
It should be noted that while these were recognised globally in the initial days of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries like the US have since moved on to use a longer list of signs and symptoms to identify the infection for some time now.
But, there is understood to be a debate in the UK about which symptoms will be recognised for a Covid test. Now, the list has added the following:
* shortness of breath
* feeling tired or exhausted
* aching body
* sore throat
* blocked or runny nose
* loss of appetite
* feeling sick or being sick
Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha, director and unit head pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad told indianexpress.com that even though the NHS has listed it now, Indian doctors have been observing this for long. “Sore throat is one of the most common features of any viral infection. Muscle pain can be associated with fever of any origin. The severity of pain that has been seen with the Omicron variant, however, was extraordinary. Such types of aches and pains are not seen in the flu. This type of pain is commonly seen with dengue and chikungunya.”
He added that severe muscle pain should always point towards something ‘unusual’. “Diarrhoea is a common symptom with many viral infections. The combination of muscle pain, loose stool and sore throat is suggestive of Covid,” he said.
Concurring with him, Dr Jayalakshmi TK, consultant, pulmonology at Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai said the new symptoms have been included in view of the different presentation of the new Covid variants, particularly Omicron BA1and BA2. “The new variants typically cause milder disease and symptoms, like muscle pains, diarrhoea and throat pain, which are flu-like symptoms, and there is no need to be alarmed,” she explained.
“Although a lot about this pandemic is already known, we must remember this is an evolving virus. While earlier, with the original Wuhan variants and the Delta variant, there was more lung involvement, hypoxia and blood clotting complications, these are seen much less with Omicron, which is the current variant,” she remarked.