Coronavirus affects different people in different ways; we know that, for sure. A BMJ study estimates that between 17 to 20 percent of people with COVID-19 never show any symptoms, and we've heard time and time again that the three most recognized symptoms—a fever, a cough, and loss of taste/smell—are definitely not the only physical indicators you've caught the virus.
But a new scientific study conducted by Imperial College London has highlighted that age can be a factor in determining what kind of symptoms you're most likely to get if you contract coronavirus. The research covered more than a million people to determine new symptom patterns, and found that headaches are most common in young people aged between five and 17. People in this age group are also less likely to report a fever, persistent cough and appetite loss in comparison with older COVID-19 patients.
As well as that, the study determined that appetite loss and muscle ache featured highly in coronavirus cases of people aged between 18 and 54. Chills were linked with positive cases across all age groups.
The findings are useful in reminding us that, just because we might not suffer the core symptoms of cough, fever and loss of smell/taste, doesn't mean we should rule out other ailments as being a sign of COVID-19.
The same study highlighted four symptoms in particular—additional to the main three—that were found to be very common among positive coronavirus cases. Chills, a loss of appetite, headaches, and achey muscles aren't included on the UK's official list of COVID testing criteria, but this new research suggests perhaps they should be. The more we know about other signs, the more able we'll be able to detect cases and prevent further spread.
"These new findings suggest many people with COVID-19 won't be getting tested—and therefore won't be self-isolating—because their symptoms don't match those used in current public health guidance to help identify infected people," said Professor Paul Elliott, director of the REACT programme at Imperial. He added that he hopes the study's findings "mean that the testing programme can take advantage of the most up-to-date evidence, helping to identify more infected people."
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.