How many could be suffering from 'gastro coronavirus' as tummy ache could be one of the first signs of deadly bug

A STABBING tummy ache is said to be one of the less commonly reported symptoms of coronavirus.

A persistent dry cough and fever are the two main symptoms we know to look for, but scientists have said Covid-19 can attack our digestive systems as well.

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Dr Fern Riddell, historian and author, detailed on Twitter her digestive symptoms as she's battled coronavirus.

On April 14 she tweeted: "Hello, I’ve not been here because I am on day 33 of #Covid 19, and for the last 26 I’ve been the sickest I’ve ever been in my life.

"I feel really lucky not to have had any respiratory symptoms, mine have been purely gastric, but even with mild to moderate symptoms, it’s horrible."

She goes on to explain how she felt like she had a "summer cold" and slight fever and lost her sense of  smell – another symptom coronavirus sufferers have also reported having.

Dr Riddell said things took a turn for the worse by day 10.

She wrote: "Full body shakes and aches, serious dehydration (6 litres of water a day plus dioralyte), overwhelming nausea, awful diarrhoea, extreme fatigue.

"You feel so, so ill. And it’s terrifying. I don’t remember much of the next 14 days."

A recent study, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, suggests people might experience digestive issues, such as diarrhoea, when they are infected with coronavirus.

Researchers analysed data from 206 patients with Covid-19 in China’s Hubei province and they discovered that 48.5 per cent of these patients arrived at the hospital with digestive symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting or abdominal pain.

Following this, the researchers stated that, for some people, digestive symptoms may present itself first before the respiratory symptoms of Covid-19.

The study noted: "These data emphasize that patients with new-onset digestive symptoms after a possible Covid-19 contact should be suspected for the illness, even in the absence of cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or fever."

It also explained that patients with digestive symptoms suffered longer than those with respiratory symptoms – citing the average hospital stay as 23.7 days.

In the study, the people included in the study also had a more severe case of illness.

Brennan M.R. Spiegel, co-editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, said: "In this study, Covid-19 patients with digestive symptoms have a worse clinical outcome and higher risk of mortality compared to those without digestive symptoms, emphasising the importance of including symptoms like diarrhoea to suspect Covid-19 early in the disease course before respiratory symptoms develop."

Despite this revelation, people should still be vigilant in looking out for the primary symptoms of coronavirus including a dry cough and high temperature – as Covid-19 primarily attacks the lungs and respiratory system.

Some patients may also have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose or a sore throat – but these are usually mild and begin gradually.

Developing these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have the illness and they are similar to other illnesses, such as the common cold or flu.


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