Researchers discover most common symptom of coronavirus is not a dry cough

Staying vigilant about the symptoms of coronavirus has been crucial through this pandemic.

We are constantly reminded of the three most common symptoms – a new, continuous cough, a high temperature and a loss of sense of smell and/or taste.

According to the NHS, most people who have Covid-19 have at least one of these symptoms.

At the beginning of the pandemic, many put emphasis on a persistent cough – that means coughing for a lot more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.

But according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), coughing might not be the main symptom people experience when they have coronavirus.

From August 15 to October 26, the ONS noted that the number of people who had tested positive, and noted a loss of taste or smell, had increased in all age groups.

This symptom wasn't actually added as a symptom of coronavirus until May 18.

Loss of taste and/or smell, also known as anosmia, was experienced by between 20 and 40% of those over 35, compared to around 15 to 25% having a fever, and between 13 to 18% a cough.

Of those under 35 years old, as many as 60% of those with Covid-19 had anosmia, compared to 15 to 25% having a fever, and 10% a cough.

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School-aged children are least likely to suffer a cough, according to the data.

The report says: “"The positivity rate for school-aged children with cough symptoms has remained low over the period (currently around 5 per cent) whilst the rate for others aged under 35 years and those 35 years and over has steadily increased to around 10 per cent to 15 per cent.

"This suggests cough is a less specific symptom to Covid-19 in school-aged children.

"People testing positive are generally more likely to have symptoms of loss of taste or smell, and fever."

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Meanwhile, the ONS data shows the second most common symptom was a fever.

It’s also worth remembering that children and adults suffer from coronavirus in different ways.

According to data collected by the King’s College app showed that 52% of school children who tested positive for Covid-19 didn’t show the main adult symptoms.

But if you do have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus, you should get a test as soon as possible.

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