Im a GP and these six unusual Covid symptoms need urgent medical attention

Dr Hilary discusses possible Covid wave

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic many of us were aware of the key symptoms.

A new cough, loss of taste or smell and fatigue were all indications of infection.

However, the emergence of new variants and better understanding of the disease means we are aware of a wide range of other potential symptoms.

Since this summer, two new strains of Covid have been detected in the UK – the Eris and Priola variants.

These have been linked to a subsequent spike in infections in the region.

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An expert spoke with about these variants and any less common symptoms to be wary of.

Doctor Phil Green, GP at Tower Health, explained that the new strains can cause the classic signs of Covid we are used to seeing.

“At present, there is no evidence to suggest that the Eris and Pirola strains of Covid have new, unique symptoms other than the usual COVID-19 symptoms,” he said.

“The most common signs of these strains, as well as other strains include fever, a persistent cough, fatigue, muscular discomfort, nasal congestion, alterations in taste and/or smell, and a sore throat.”

However, there are some “uncommon” signs of infection to look for.

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Dr Green pinpointed six symptoms that are worth seeking advice about.

He said: “Although not directly related to the Eris and Pirola strains, some uncommon COVID-19 symptoms include skin rashes, Covid toes (reddish or purplish discolouration of fingers or toes), conjunctivitis (redness of the eyes), confusion, dizziness, and even a loss of consciousness.

“However, these are very rare. If you experience any of these, it is best to consult with a medical professional.”

These symptoms are listed as signs of Covid by a number of health bodies.

The ZOE Health Study, which tracks Covid symptoms in the UK, warned that “characteristic skin rashes and ‘COVID fingers and toes’ should be considered as key diagnostic signs of the disease”.

One study, published in the Qatar Medical Journal in 2021, revealed that in some “rare” cases conjunctivitis can be the only sign of Covid.

“Conjunctivitis can be the only sign and symptom of COVID-19 in some patients,” it said.

“Therefore, healthcare providers, particularly ophthalmologists, should take precautions when dealing with patients presenting with conjunctivitis amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Confusion among Covid patients is often referred to as “brain fog”, which NHS Inform describes as poor concentration, feeling confused and thinking more slowly than usual.

“People usually recover from brain fog,” it says.

Your Covid Recovery – a programme run by the NHS – warns that dizziness caused by Covid can present as “a feeling of spinning or an unusual sense of moving often called vertigo” or lightheadedness.

And John Hopkins Medicine, lists a loss of consciousness as one way in which Covid can affect the brain.

What to do if you experience Covid symptoms

Dr Green added: “If you experience any of the above COVID-19 symptoms, you should isolate yourself to prevent transmission, get tested, and consult a healthcare professional.

“Make sure you follow local health guidelines, and if severe symptoms occur, seek immediate medical attention.”

Although testing and self-isolation is no longer mandatory the NHS advises staying home and avoiding contact with others for five days if you experience symptoms and/or test positive for Covid.

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