New research has boiled down the most probable order in which COVID-19 symptoms first appear.
The earliest sign of the coronavirus will most likely be a fever in infected patients, followed by a cough and muscle pain, according to the study conducted by the University of Southern California published in the Frontiers in Public Health journal Thursday.
People will then experience nausea or vomiting and diarrhoea.
The latest findings are a major breakthrough in studying the COVID-19 virus, since patients will now be able to more quickly identify and treat the disease.
“This order is especially important to know when we have overlapping cycles of illnesses like the flu that coincide with infections of COVID-19,” Peter Kuhn, a professor of biological sciences and medicine who worked on the study, said in a statement. “Doctors can determine what steps to take to care for the patient, and they may prevent the patient’s condition from worsening.”
Establishing a diagnosis early is key to stopping the virus before it gets more serious.
“Given that there are now better approaches to treatments for COVID-19, identifying patients earlier could reduce hospitalization time,” said Joseph Larsen, a doctoral candidate and the lead researcher on the study. “The order of the symptoms matter. Knowing that each illness progresses differently means that doctors can identify sooner whether someone likely has COVID-19, or another illness, which can help them make better treatment decisions.”