AS Covid-19 infections continue to spread across the country it’s important to know the key signs and symptoms.
We all know the three key signs of Covid, but is diarrhoea a sign of infection or have you just had a dodgy dinner?
Bowel health in both kids and adults all depends on how well the digestive or gastrointestinal systems are working.
Community pharmacist, Sultan Dajani explained that the bowel is working properly, it can digest food effectively and eliminate the waste (i.e. the poo) easily and at least four times a week.
He said things can go wrong in the large bowel and the stool becomes too soft and liquid in consistency – which is a sign of diarrhoea.
The three main symptoms of Covid-19 as outlined by the NHS throughout the pandemic have been a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell.
A loss of taste and smell (anosmia) was added to the list in May 2020 after experts gathered more information on what patients were experiencing.
Since the start of the pandemic these symptoms have continued to evolve with people also reporting symptoms such as headaches and chills.
Data previously published by experts at the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app found that diarrhoea can be a symptom.
Medical experts at the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the US previously said that patients had experienced diarrhoea.
The experts at ZOE said that if you have Covid and you also have diarrhoea along with other symptoms then it could be more likely that you need to go to the hospital.
They explained: “Diarrhoea caused by Covid-19 is similar to the upset tummy you might get from a regular stomach bug, such as rotavirus or norovirus. Diarrhoea is common in children and adults and usually clears up by itself.
“We think Covid-19 causes diarrhoea because the virus can invade cells in the gut and disrupt its normal function.
When you should seek help
Usually diarrhoea is something you have to ride out, as it will get better on its own.
You must stay off school or work if you have been unwell for at least two days, as this suggests you have a bug that could be spread.
A pharmacist can help with medicines to relieve diarrhoea and it’s associated symptoms, like dehydration.
But call a pharmacy or contact them online before going in person. You can get medicines delivered or ask someone to collect them.
The NHS says to call 111 if:
- there is blood in diarrhoea, or you are bleeding from the bottom
- diarrhoea has lasted more than seven days, or vomiting more than two days
- you have signs of dehydration (fewer wet nappies in young children) despite using rehydration sachets
- you can’t keep fluid down
- you are worried about a baby under 12 months
- your child has stopped feeding (breast or bottle)
Call 999 if you or your child:
- vomit blood or have vomit that looks like ground coffee
- have green or yellow-green vomit
- might have swallowed something poisonous
- have a stiff neck and pain when looking at bright lights
- have a sudden, severe headache or stomach ache
“Covid-19 can be transmitted through poo and contaminated surfaces or hands. It’s critically important to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly clean bathrooms if you, anyone you live with, or someone you’re caring for has diarrhoea, to prevent the infection spreading.”
Diarrhoea is an early warning sign of Covid-19 and the experts say it usually occurs on the first day of infection.
In adults they say it can last for up to seven days and that some people can suffer ongoing bouts of the poos when they have Covid-19.
While it’s not a common symptom of Covid, the experts say it is one that increases in likelihood the older that you get.
Just two per cent of people who test positive for Covid are estimated to have diarrhoea.
For most people, they will experience this alongside fatigue and headaches
They added: “Diarrhoea has also been associated with a greater risk of needing hospital support, particularly among people also reporting abdominal pain and unusual muscle pain.”
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