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COVID-19 symptoms appear in a specific order, study finds
One reason to suspect you have COVID-19 may be the order in which the symptoms appear.
- USC researchers identify a distinct order in which COVID-19 symptoms present themselves.
- SARS-CoV-2 affects the digestive tract in a way that distinguishes it from other similar infections.
- If you experience these symptoms in this order, call your doctor.
One of the scary things about COVID-19 is that the early symptoms it presents are also common indicators of a flu or infection: fever, cough, and so on. When a person experiences any of these symptoms these days, it's reasonable to wonder if they have COVID-19.
Now researchers from the Kuhn Lab as University of Southern California have discovered something that may be useful for anyone questioning whether they've been infected with COVID-19. According to their investigation, it's likely that coronavirus symptoms present in a particular order. This is unusual — other illness that produces these symptoms don't follow any known sequence — and if a person gets these symptoms in this particular order, they should self-isolate and get tested.
The study is published in Frontiers in Public Health.
The symptoms in order
The USC team says that coronavirus' symptoms present in this order:
- cough and muscle pain
- nausea and/or vomiting
What really sets apart COVID-19 from other diseases is the timing of the nausea/vomiting and diarrhea. While the respiratory symptoms are similar to those associated with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the gastrointestinal sequence of COVID-19 is distinctive. COVID-19 attacks the upper GI tract first, causing nausea/vomiting before moving down to the lower GI tract, producing diarrhea. This is the opposite of the way in which these symptoms appear with MERS and SARS.
"This order is especially important to know when we have overlapping cycles of illnesses like the flu that coincide with infections of COVID-19, says study co-author Peter Kuhn. "Doctors can determine what steps to take to care for the patient, and they may prevent the patient's condition from worsening."
The study calls for further investigation into the presenting symptoms of COVID-19, since unanswered questions remain. Might the order of symptoms vary with outlier strains of SARS-CoV-2? Do other risk factors such as obesity, or environmental factors such as temperature affect their order?
Image source: fizkes/Shutterstock
Clue in the data
The core data set used by the USC team were case histories of 55,000 people who contracted COVID-19 in China. The data was collected by the World Health Organization from February 16-24, 2020. Their analysis was supplemented by data from almost 1,100 additional cases documented by the China Medical Treatment Expert Group via the National Health Commission of China — these came from December 11, 2019 to January 29, 2020.
To assess the similarity of COVID-19's symptom ordering to the flu, the researchers looked at the data from 2,470 North American, European, and Southern Hemisphere flu cases from 1994 to 1998.
"The importance of knowing first symptoms is rooted in the need to stop the spread of COVID-19, a disease that is two to three times more transmissible than influenza and results in outbreaks of clusters.' — Larsen, et al
Lead study author Joseph Larsen says that in addition to slowing transmission, an understanding of COVID-19's progression could also facilitate more effective treatment.
"The order of the symptoms matter. Knowing that each illness progresses differently means that doctors can identify sooner whether someone likely has COVID-19, or another illness, which can help them make better treatment decisions," says Larsen, who adds, "Given that there are now better approaches to treatments for COVID-19, identifying patients earlier could reduce hospitalization time."
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What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.
- Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
- That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
- We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
The inherent worth of all human beings<p>Human dignity is the inherent worth of each individual human being. Recognizing human dignity means respecting human beings' special value—value that sets us apart from other animals; value that is intrinsic and cannot be lost.</p> <p>Liberalism—the broad political philosophy that organizes society around liberty, justice, and equality—is rooted in the idea of human dignity. Liberalism assumes each of our lives, plans, and preferences have some unimpeachable value, not because of any objective evaluation or contribution to a greater good, but simply because they belong to a human being. We are human, and therefore deserving of a baseline level of respect. </p> <p>Because so many of us take human dignity for granted—just a fact of our humanness—it's usually only when someone's dignity is ignored or violated that we feel compelled to talk about it. </p> <p>But human dignity means more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose—a freedom that can be hampered by restrictive social institutions or the tyranny of the majority. The liberal ideal of the good society is not just peaceful but also pluralistic: It is a society in which we respect others' right to think and live differently than we do.</p>
From the 19th century to today<p>With <a href="https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2019&content=human+dignity&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Chuman%20dignity%3B%2Cc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Google Books Ngram Viewer</a>, we can chart mentions of human dignity from 1800-2019.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0ODU0My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUwMzE4MX0.bu0D_0uQuyNLyJjfRESNhu7twkJ5nxu8pQtfa1w3hZs/img.png?width=980" id="7ef38" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9974c7bef3812fcb36858f325889e3c6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979.
Credit: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images
The future of dignity<p>Around the world, people are still working toward the full and equal recognition of human dignity. Every year, new speeches and writings help us understand what dignity is—not only what it looks like when dignity is violated but also what it looks like when dignity is honored. In his posthumous essay, Congressman Lewis wrote, "When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war."</p> <p>The more we talk about human dignity, the better we understand it. And the sooner we can make progress toward a shared vision of peace, freedom, and mutual respect for all. </p>
Scientists find that bursts of gamma rays may exceed the speed of light and cause time-reversibility.
- Astrophysicists propose that gamma-ray bursts may exceed the speed of light.
- The superluminal jets may also be responsible for time-reversibility.
- The finding doesn't go against Einstein's theory because this effect happens in the jet medium not a vacuum.
Jet bursting out of a blazar. Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Cosmic death beams: Understanding gamma ray bursts<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cu2knVEk" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="c6cfd20fdf31c82cb206ade8ce21ba3f"> <div id="botr_cu2knVEk_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cu2knVEk-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Philosophers have been asking the question for hundreds of years. Now neuroscientists are joining the quest to find out.
- The debate over whether or not humans have free will is centuries old and ongoing. While studies have confirmed that our brains perform many tasks without conscious effort, there remains the question of how much we control and when it matters.
- According to Dr. Uri Maoz, it comes down to what your definition of free will is and to learning more about how we make decisions versus when it is ok for our brain to subconsciously control our actions and movements.
- "If we understand the interplay between conscious and unconscious," says Maoz, "it might help us realize what we can control and what we can't."
We’ve mapped a million previously undiscovered galaxies beyond the Milky Way. Take the virtual tour here.
See the most detailed survey of the southern sky ever carried out using radio waves.
Astronomers have mapped about a million previously undiscovered galaxies beyond the Milky Way, in the most detailed survey of the southern sky ever carried out using radio waves.
A new study shows our planet is much closer to the supermassive black hole at the galaxy's center than previously estimated.