In the eight months since scientists identified the coronavirus, we're still learning how its many symptoms can ravage the body.
The one thing doctors know for sure is that it can attack any and every cell of the body so there isn't one symptom that connects the dots to one or another treatment that will be effective for everyone.
"We have to come to grips that COVID-19 might kill me, but it could also debilitate you over a significant period of time," said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization Emergencies Programme, according to CNBC.
Here is a rundown on how the coronavirus attacks the body:
Common symptoms. According to WHO, 80% of people with COVID-19 suffer mild symptoms or none at all. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the most common symptoms include fever or chill, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle aches or headache.
Pneumonia. In severe cases of the disease, which is known to attack the lungs, COVID-19 patients develop life-threatening pneumonia. According to CNBC, pneumonia kills approximately 50,000 people each year.
Loss of taste and smell. Scientists from King's College London said that loss of these senses is one of the best indicators of COVID-19 affecting over 59% of cases.
Skin conditions. According to The New York Post, the French National Union of Dermatologists-Venereologists found dermatological signs like pseudo-frostbite, hives and persistent redness have been associated with COVID-19.
According to The Hospitalist, skin manifestations were also observed in one-fifth of a group of patients with COVID-19 in the Alessandro Manzoni Hospital in Lecco, in northern Italy. The doctors found that 78% of the patients with skin symptoms had red rashes while others had widespread urticaria — round, red welts on the skin that can itch intensely. The trunk of the body was the most commonly affected area.
Brain fog. Patients recovering from COVID-19 often report they have difficulty with concentration. A recent study compared brain scans of COVID-19 patients to those who didn't have the disease and found changes in the structure of the brain associated with memory loss a full three months after they tested positive for the virus, according to an article published in The Lancet.
Cardiovascular complications. According to CNBC, COVID-19 can damage the heart, leading to heart failure. A study published in JAMA showed that almost 20% of patients who were hospitalized with the disease showed signs of cardiac injury. In addition, researchers from Thomas Jefferson University published a report that said the coronavirus was linked to massive strokes in young people.
Happy hypoxia. Low oxygen levels are often noted in COVID-19 patients. This can trigger a condition called silent or "happy hypoxia," where the patient does not experience respiratory distress despite having life-threatening low levels of oxygen. The condition is "especially bewildering to physicians as it defies basic biology," said Dr. Martin J. Tobin of Loyola University Health System, according to Science Daily.
MIS-C. Pediatricians have reported that a rare but life-threatening syndrome linked to COVID-19 that affects young children. It's called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, and several U.S. children have died from the illness. According to the Houston Chronicle, symptoms may include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, bloodshot eyes, fatigue and neck pain — much like those of Kawasaki disease.
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