COVID-19 is an infectious disease that has killed more than one million people across the world. If you develop any of the key coronavirus symptoms, you should get tested for the infection straight away.
The UK has seen a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases over the past few weeks.
A number of councils across the country have entered into ‘tier three’ restrictions, in a bid to cut the infection rate.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now ordered all pubs and restaurants to shut at 10pm, while nobody should meet with more than five other people for the foreseeable future.
But some coronavirus patients have reported still having symptoms of the virus eight months after their initial infection.
These patients have developed the so-called ‘long COVID’, where symptoms of the initial infection can persist for longer than expected.
Scientists have now revealed who is most likely to develop long COVID, based on their very earliest coronavirus symptoms.
Fatigue, headaches, difficulty breathing, hoarse voice, and muscle pains, were the five signs that were most likely to lead to long COVID, according to researchers are the COVID Symptom Study app.
Difficulty breathing, in particular, was a “significant” predictor of long COVID, they said.
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“Reports of ‘long-COVID’ are rising but little is known about prevalence, risk factors, or whether it is possible to predict a protracted course early in the disease,” they added.
“When analysed individually after adjusting for age and sex, every symptom in isolation was positively predictive of longer illness duration.
“The five symptoms experienced during the first week most predictive of long-COVID were: fatigue, headache, dyspnoea, hoarse voice, and myalgia.
“In particular, dyspnoea has been shown to be a significant predictor of long-term symptoms in an unselected population.”
Patients were also more likely to develop long COVID if they had the onset of multiple symptoms all at once, during the infection’s early stages.
More than 170 long COVID symptoms have been reported by patients.
The most common long COVID symptoms include fatigue and a persistent cough, according to the app.
Most people recover from coronavirus after a few weeks, it said. But long COVID can’t necessarily be predicted, and it may even affect patients that had mild symptoms at the start of their infection.
Meanwhile, a high fever, a new cough, and a change to your sense of smell or taste are the most common early coronavirus symptoms.
In the UK, you should only get tested for the infection if you develop any of these symptoms.
Some patients have also reported a sore throat, headaches, and even hiccups, on top of the more common signs.
Almost 45,000 people have died from coronavirus in the UK.