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The seven types of Covid

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Covid-19 infection manifests as one of seven seemingly different symptoms—including gastrointestinal complaints that affect up to 20 percent of everyone who catches the virus.

The seven symptoms are:

· Flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, fatigue and cough

· Common cold symptoms, such as sneezing, dry throat and nasal congestion

· Joint and muscle pains

· Eye and mucosal inflammation

· Lung problems, including pneumonia and shortness of breath

· Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting

· Loss of smell and taste

Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna identified Covid’s seven forms after studying the symptoms experienced by 109 people recovering from infection and compared them against 98 healthy people.

The symptoms range from mild to severe and can damage the immune system for up to 10 weeks after initial infection, they say. But the immune system also builds a memory of the virus and its

‘killer’ cells can be activated weeks after infection. “Our immune system doubles up when defending against Covid with the combined action of immune cells and antibodies, and the cells are also able to memorise certain ‘moves’ of the virus and respond to them,” said Winfried Picki.

The loss of smell and taste seems to be more common in younger people.

In a separate study, researchers have discovered that gastrointestinal problems are some of the most common symptoms of a Covid infection, affecting up to 20 percent of sufferers. Symptoms include a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and general abdominal pain, say researchers from the University of Alberta.

Around 18 percent of Covid patients suffer gastrointestinal symptoms, and 16 percent report that they don’t suffer any other reactions. In extreme cases, the virus can cause inflammation of the small and large bowel and bowel perforation.

(Sources: Seven signs of Covid: Allergy, 2020; doi: 10.1111/all.14647; gastrointestinal symptoms: Abdominal Radiology, 2020; doi: 10.1007/s00261-020-02739-5)

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