Covid-19, often simply known as coronavirus, has been spreading across the globe at an alarming rate in recent weeks. According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been over 284,000 confirmed cases worldwide and nearly 12,000 deaths.

In the midst of this global pandemic, concern is widespread, leading to panic-shopping and mass waves of self-isolation. With all this commotion, many are likely to wonder what symptoms they should be looking out for.

While the novel coronavirus can manifest through a number of symptoms, health officials are emphasizing a few key signs that potential patients should be concerned about.

Before considering symptoms, it is important to note that 80% of individuals carrying coronavirus show mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. As such, even seemingly healthy individuals should strive to avoid social contact until further notice.

“We're emphasizing fever plus a notable lower respiratory tract symptom – cough or trouble breathing,” Dr. William Schaffner of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine explained.

When monitoring for a fever, it is important to note that 100 degrees Fahrenheit is the threshold at which an actual fever begins. The average human body temperature of 98.6 degrees is known to go up and down throughout the day, so minor increases should not be stressed over.

As Covid-19 is brought on by an acute respiratory syndrome, coughing can be a major sign that you have the virus. Specifically, dry coughing is associated with the disease rather than wet coughs that are meant to clear out one’s throat.

“It's not a tickle in your throat. You're not just clearing your throat. It's not just irritated. You're not putting anything out, you're not coughing anything up,” Schaffner explained. “The cough is bothersome, it's coming from your breastbone or sternum and you can tell that your bronchial tubes are inflamed or irritated.”

Shortness of breath is another key sign of respiratory infection related to the virus. Schaffner urged anyone with severe shortness of breath to call 911. If symptoms like fever and cough are not severe, sources like the National Health Service in the U.K. advise people not to go to the doctor, but rather to self-isolate for one week, or until the symptoms subside. Anyone who lives with a person showing these symptoms should isolate for two weeks.

Beyond these key signs, Covid-19 can manifest through a number of flu-like symptoms, including aches, pains, a runny nose, congestion, and a sore throat. Some cases may even involve bouts of diarrhea.

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