Since the first case of Covid cropped up in the UK back in 2020, people have been experiencing a slew of different symptoms. Furthermore, different variants have given prominence to the many signs coronavirus can cause. There’s no doubt the infection can trigger stubborn respiratory symptoms like cough and shortness of breath but one sign can also appear when you go to the toilet for a number two.
While Covid is best known for symptoms like fever and sore throat, the virus can also strike in your tummy.
One of the “early” symptoms that crops up on the “first day” of infection is diarrhoea, according to The Zoe Covid Study App, which keeps a track of dominant Covid symptoms through positive patients using the app.
Diarrhoea describes passing looser or more frequent stools than is normal for you.
This sign caused by Covid tends to be similar to the upset stomach you might get from a regular stomach bug, such as rotavirus or norovirus.
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Zoe suggests that coronavirus might cause diarrhoea because the virus can invade cells in your gut and disrupt its normal function.
Although the toilet sign begins on the first day of your illness, it might build in intensity during the first week.
The health app reports it tends to last for an average of two to three days but Covid diarrhoea can also stick with you for up to seven days.
What’s worse, diarrhoea was also linked to a greater risk of needing hospital support – particularly among people who also battled abdominal pain and unusual muscle pain.
How common is this sign and how to protect yourself
Zoe’s data suggests that 30 percent of patients with the Alpha variant experienced this uncomfortable sign, while one in five patients suffered from diarrhoea with either Delta or Omicron strains if they had two or three doses of the jab.
Omicron variant BA.5 continues to be the dominant strain driving up the infections in the UK.
Zoe states: “Covid can be transmitted through poo and contaminated surfaces or hands.
“It’s critically important to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly clean bathrooms if you, anyone you live with or someone you’re caring for has diarrhoea to prevent the infection spreading.”
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Zoe adds that other Covid symptoms that may accompany the tummy symptom include headaches, loss of smell and appetite, sore throat, chest pain and cough.
What is the full list of Covid symptoms?
According to the NHS, the coronavirus symptoms to be aware of include:
- High temperature or shivering (chills)
- Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or exhausted
- Aching body
- Sore throat
- Blocked or runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling sick or being sick.
While there’s no need to self-isolate by the law when you have the virus, the NHS still asks people to stay at home and avoid contact with others.
How many Covid cases are there?
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported a decrease in cases in the week ending on November 8.
In England, the estimated number of people with the virus is one in 60, compared to Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland where there’s an estimated one in 55 with Covid.
The ONS also reports that infection rates were highest for those aged 50 to 69 years in the latest week.
While the cases are declining, health experts are still worried that there’s a difficult winter ahead as “tripledemic” caused by Covid, flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection is expected to hit.