Coronavirus patients feel better before getting seriously ill, docs warn – The Sun

CORONAVIRUS patients will usually feel better before their condition suddenly worsens, doctors are warning.

Medics say Covid-19 patients usually start off with minor physical complaints — slight cough, headache, low-grade fever — before their condition dramatically deteriorates.

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It comes as experts are beginning to get a better grasp of the new coronavirus with the number of cases in the UK rising to 5,683, and the death toll now standing at 281.

"Patients tend to have symptoms for about a week before either getting better, or getting really sick," Dr. Joshua Denson, a pulmonary medicine and critical care physician at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, told NBC News.

Denson, who estimated he's treated 15 to 20 patients with Covid-19, dubbed that first phase of the illness as "a slow burn."

Dr Ken Lyn-Kew, a pulmonologist in the critical care department at National Jewish Health in Denver, admitted he's also seen the trend with his own Covid-19 patients.

He said: "It seems like there's a period of time where the body is trying to sort out whether it can beat this or not.

"They're doing okay, and then all of a sudden they're really fatigued, a lot more shorter of breath and having chest pains."

Dr Christopher Ohl, an infectious disease expert and professor of medicine at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, echoed Lyn-Kew's findings regarding patients who end up in the hospital.

He added: "They say: 'Hey, you know, I think I'm getting over this,' and then within 20 to 24 hours, they've got fevers, severe fatigue, worsening cough and shortness of breath,' Ohl told NBC News. 'Then they get hospitalised."

Chris Kane, a man from Washington who tested positive for coronavirus after returning from a trip to Florida late last month, is among those who felt better before feeling worse, according to his wife Susan.


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Susan Kane said her husband developed a nagging cough after his Florida trip but initially had no reason to expect it was anything more than a cold because he did not fit the high-risk criteria.

"It started off as just a little bit of a dry cough," Susan said.

"He didn't have any other symptoms but this crazy cough."

However, a few days later the cough worsened to the point that he was "choking and just gasping for air", according to his wife.

Chris tested positive for coronavirus about a week later and was hospitalised at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett.

"He was really sick," Susan said. "They put him on oxygen right away."

Her husband eventually pulled through thanks to an experimental treatment.

Around one out of every six who gets Covid-19 become seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are at most risk developing serious illness.

This can include pneumonia and swelling in the lungs, which can make it hard for the lungs to pass oxygen into the bloodstream – leading to organ failure and death.

Severe pneumonia can kill people by causing them to "drown" in the fluid flooding their lungs.

People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention, the WHO says.

Symptoms are thought to appear between two and 11 days.

New research has found that the average incubation period of Covid-19 is 5.1 days.

A study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US found that almost all (97.5 per cent) of those who develop symptoms appeared to do so within 11.5 days of infection.

The best way to prevent catching any form of coronavirus is to practice good hygiene, health experts say.

Currently, there is no vaccine to protect people against the virus.

Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses – only bacteria.

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