Coronavirus: Vomiting and nausea may be the first signs of COVID-19
Some people may have the “gastrointestinal version” of COVID-19.
As doctors learn more about COVID-19, more and more symptoms are being reported. Some people who are ill with the coronavirus may experience a “fizzing” sensation, others could be coughing up blood. Dermatologists have used the term “COVID toes” to describe a phenomenon among some coronavirus patients. The coronavirus symptoms kids are experiencing weeks after a possible infection are alarming.
There is also recent evidence an upset stomach can be a key symptom for people who have a mild form of the disease.
Digestive problems, particularly diarrhea, can be the first clue in a “unique sub-group” of patients who are infected with the new coronavirus, but don’t have the more well-known warning signs, according to a recent study made available before peer review by the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Dr. Gupta discusses 6 new coronavirus symptoms added by CDC
The findings come after previous research found up to half of COVID-19 patients in general may complain of digestive symptoms.
The authors of the new paper wanted to understand more about the 80% of people who have the mild form of the disease, said Dr. Brennan Spiegel, study co-author and director of health services research at the Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles.
“COVID-19 is not just a cough,” Spiegel told TODAY. “Of course, we’re very focused on the lungs because that’s what can cause people to die. But this virus, if it gets into your saliva and you swallow it, can then enter the intestinal system.”
Coronavirus symptoms and how to recognize them: No sense of smell and more
The virus enters the human body through a particular receptor that’s found in very high levels in the gastrointestinal tract, he noted.
“If you unfurl your intestines, you have almost a tennis court worth of surface area. So you have this huge area where the virus can just start to replicate itself over and over again,” Spiegel said.
“It seems that’s happening in some patients who have the GI version of this disease.”
Is nausea a symptom of COVID-19 as well?
The findings mean that people who suddenly complain of diarrhea, nausea or vomiting after being around someone possibly infected with the new coronavirus should be suspected for the illness, even if they don’t have a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or fever, the authors wrote.