Sneezing and runny noses are not common symptoms of COVID-19, the disease the coronavirus causes. It's a misconception that nasal symptoms are common — instead, the most common symptoms are fever and a dry cough. The virus has infected more than 417,000 people and killed more than 18,500. For the latest, follow Business Insider's updates here. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
If you see someone coughing or sneezing on the street and are scared they might have the coronavirus, remember: Sneezing is not a common symptom of COVID-19. Instead, the primary signs of COVID-19 are fever and a dry cough. Other symptoms include fatigue, nausea, body aches, coughing, shortness of breath, and gastrointestinal issues. Here are the symptoms associated with COVID-19 and how they compare with symptoms of the common cold, the flu, and allergies:
For many people, the arrival of spring brings allergies. Seasonal allergy symptoms frequently include sneezing and congestion, as well as itchy eyes. But for COVID-19 patients, congestion only occurs in 4.8% of cases, according to a World Health Organization report that looked at about 56,000 Chinese COVID-19 patients. Much more common symptoms of the coronavirus include fever (in 87.9% of the cases studied), dry cough (67.7% of cases), and fatigue (38.1%). Still, the overlap between symptoms of COVID-19 and symptoms of other common conditions is in part why widespread testing is necessary. Plus, someone could have both coronavirus and allergies simultaneously. The US still lags behind in testing capacity compared to other countries like China and South Korea. However, after weeks of delays in producing and distributing tests, the US is now beginning to ramp up its testing: More than 350,000 Americans have been tested for the coronavirus, according to the COVID Tracking Project, a resource from journalists at The Atlantic and the founder of a medical-data startup. That's up from just 10,000 on March 12.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 4 potential coronavirus treatments that researchers are working on right now
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Summary List Placement President Trump is experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19, including a cough, congestion, low-grade...Summary List Placement President Trump is experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19, including a cough, congestion, low-grade fever, and fatigue, the New York Times reported Friday. The president revealed early Friday morning that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the illness, which is caused by the novel coronavirus. He's since been said to be on his way to Walter Reed hospital, but White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the decision was made "out of an abundance of caution." Trump's reported mild symptoms are common among COVID-19 patients, though they can get better before turning worse. Typically, more severe symptoms don't set on until the second week of infection. About 80% of people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms Coronavirus cases are classified as "asymptomatic," "mild," "severe," or "critical," with mild referring to patients who don't need to be hospitalized, Insider's Shira Feder previously reported. About 4 in 5 coronavirus patients have "mild" symptoms, which, like Trump, can include cough, congestion, and slight fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's growing list. About 40% of patients experience extreme fatigue, or lethargy. A cough that's symptomatic of the coronavirus tends to be dry, persistent, and leaves the patient short of breath. A low-grade fever describes a slightly elevated body temperature, typically between 98.7°F and 100.4°F and lasting for at least 24 hours. A study from the University of Southern California found most symptomatic COVID patients start with a fever, followed by a cough. Symptoms of the flu, on the other hand, typically set on in the reverse order. Other mild symptoms of COVID-19 may include difficulty breathing, body aches, loss of taste and smell, and gastrointestinal issues. Todd Herman, an entrepreneur and dad-of-three in New York City who experienced a mild case in March, told Insider then that the way the virus affected his previously normal breathing was most alarming. Even going from his bedroom to the other end of his Manhattan apartment made him feel a little out of breath. "I haven't necessarily felt this much lung congestion with anything I've ever had before, like a cough or a cold in the past," Herman said. Mild cases can turn severe if the viral infections in patients' respiratory tracts worsen, potentially leading to dangerous consequences like persistent pressure in the chest, confusion or an inability to stay awake. In those and other cases, medical intervention is needed. President Trump fell asleep on Air Force One on his way home from a rally in Minnesota Wednesday, the Times reported. Even mild cases may have lingering health consequences Some coronavirus patients recover within two weeks, but a late July CDC report said that COVID-29 "can result in prolonged illness even among persons with milder outpatient illness." 35% of patients who were never hospitalized for the illness hadn't fully recovered three weeks later, it found. A growing portion of patients have reported symptoms that last for months. For many, the symptoms and severity comes in waves, or seem to resolve before turning worse. Michelle Gong, the director of critical-care research at Montefiore Medical Center, said in a Q&A with the Journal of the American Medical Association in April that COVID-19 patients often seem to be "doing OK, and then at around the five- to seven-day mark they start to get worse and then develop respiratory failure." Even for those whose symptoms resolve, doctors don't know how the virus may affect their bodies long-term. But since it seems to invade nearly every body system, it's possible it could leave permanent damage. "I've never seen an infection with this broad range of manifestations," Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in July. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How the Navy's largest hospital ship can help with the coronavirus