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Doctors start seeing new coronavirus symptom patterns in young patients

Published Jul 11th, 2020 12:05PM EDT
Coronavirus Symptoms
Image: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

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  • Coronavirus symptoms are no longer a mystery, but doctors dealing with the new surge in cases in some US states have noticed new patterns in patients.
  • Younger patients are seeking medical help as more of them are being infected than before.
  • Symptoms including abdominal pain and migraines are often reported, but rarely high fever.

The novel coronavirus pandemic is anything but contained in several US states which continue to report record numbers of cases every day. The US surpassed 60,000 daily cases just days after the 50,000 case milestone was reached. These figures are much higher than the previous peak of the outbreak and indicate the curve is far from being flattened.

As doctors continue to see an increased number of COVID-19 patients, they’re starting to notice new symptoms patterns. It’s not that the virus has become more deadly, but patients are reporting different symptoms.

Statistics show an increase in COVID-19 cases in people in their 20s and 30s, WGN9 reports. These patients develop COVID-19 symptoms differently than older patients. Fever, which seemed to be one of the most common symptoms in COVID-19 cases, isn’t even present for many young people.

“Around the country, we’re seeing more young people come to medical care and often having to be admitted to the hospital,” Vanderbilt University Infectious Disease professor Dr. William Schaffner told the TV station. “The spectrum of symptoms continues to expand, and so younger people often do come in now somewhat to our surprise without fever, and this abdominal pain seems to affect them a little bit more.”

Other symptoms can include nausea, diarrhea, loss of taste and smell, and severe headaches. Aside from abdominal pain, which isn’t explicitly mentioned on the CDC list of COVID-19 symptoms, all the others are present. Some of them were only added a couple of months ago. The CDC does mention “muscle or body aches” as a potential symptom, and that’s could include abdominal pain. Abdominal pain can be associated with diarrhea in various medical conditions, and a COVID-19 test is still required to confirm the diagnosis.

Clinics in Nashville told WGN9 that phones are ringing off the hook, with younger patients reporting debilitating migraines. A medication that could help improve their condition isn’t readily available.

“We recognized this virus can do a variety of damage to you, from no symptoms, mild symptoms, a larger collection of symptoms … obviously, it can make you very sick and (you) come into the hospital and (it disrupts) the way many of your organs function,” Schaffner said.

These may just be observations from physicians, but they’re still relevant. Studies on these younger cohorts of COVID-19 patients might deliver better conclusions about the prevalence of some of these symptoms in the not so distant future.

Doctors advise patients who suspect they may have contracted the virus to self-isolate and wait a few days before getting tested. If the tests are done too early, the virus might not be detected. Doctors suggest waiting four days after starting to feel symptoms. You should stay hydrated and take Tylenol to counteract symptoms, the same doctors said. Consider contacting your physician for more guidance and calling 911 if you experience severe symptoms.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.