Researchers say fever is not a reliable indicator of COVID-19 and that other symptoms more specific to COVID-19 are more indicative of the virus.
FRIDAY, May 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- You're sick, perhaps very sick, so you head to the local emergency department fearing the onset of COVID-19. But what symptoms most clearly point to a need for urgent care?
Based on a review of more than 1,000 patients who've already sought care for respiratory illnesses since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic in March, researchers at Harvard Medical School are offering up a new list of symptoms to watch out for.
First of all, fever isn't necessarily at the top of the list.
"Fever is not a reliable indicator" of COVID-19, said a team led by Pieter Cohen. He's an associate professor of medicine at Harvard and a physician with the Cambridge Health Alliance, in Boston.
Often, people who show up at hospital ERs with respiratory symptoms have only slightly elevated body temperatures, the researchers noted. They added that other symptoms are often more specific to COVID-19.
"COVID-19 may begin with various permutations of cough without fever, sore throat, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, body aches, back pain and fatigue. It can also present with severe body aches and exhaustion," Cohen's group explained in a Harvard news release.