Coronavirus can cause an array of symptoms. The classic tell-tale sign you might have been infected is a fever and a continuous cough. Now, a new symptom has emerged. What is it?
Dr Vicente Diaz has detailed a visible warning sign someone may be infected with COVID-19.
The ophthalmologist – specialising in vision and eye care – told online publication Health: “Many viral illnesses can affect the eye, typically causing a follicular type of conjunctivitis.”
Otherwise known as “red or pink eye”, the condition is hard to overlook.
The NHS lists symptoms of conjunctivitis, which include “bloodshot” eyes that feel “gritty”.
Other signs of pink eyes are “pus that sticks to lashes”, eyes that “itch” and “water”, and a burning sensation may also be present.
Dr Diaz continued: “We are learning that COVID-19 can affect the conjunctiva in a low percentage of people.”
Those displaying the ocular symptoms are contagious, meaning the virus can be transmitted through the eye’s secretions.
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The American Academy of Ophthalmology added that conjunctivitis “may be uncommon”, but is “still a present symptom of COVID-19”.
Aside from being infected with the notorious virus, the NHS explains that the condition can arise from other infections, as well as allergies.
In these cases, there are certain things you can do to treat the condition at home.
For instance, use clean cotton wool (one piece for each eye). Boil water, then let it cool down before wetting the cotton wool.
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Then gently rub your eyelashes with the wet, and warm cotton wool to clean away crusty residue.
You can even hold a cold flannel on your eyes for a few minutes to ease any burning sensations.
For contact lens wearers, avoid putting any lenses in until the condition has cleared up.
It usually clears up within a matter of weeks. In that time, to reduce the chance of spreading it, don’t share any towels or pillows.
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And try not to rub your eyes, and remember to wash your hands regularly with warm soapy water.
The link between conjunctivitis and COVID-19 is minor.
Meanwhile, the loss of sense and smell still isn’t recognised by the NHS or the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a symptom of COVID-19.
Yet, there has been plentiful anecdotal accounts of the symptom, as well as scientific research backing it up.
A research paper in the journal International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology demonstrates this.
Their findings, published on April 12, 2020, concluded that “chemosensory dysfunction was strongly associated with COVID‐19 infection and should be considered when screening symptoms”.
This means that the loss of smell and taste were common in patients with mild infections of COVID-19.
Dr Carol Yan, an otolaryngologist, said: “If you have smell and taste loss, you are more than 10 times more likely to have COVID-19 infection than other causes of infection.”