Health

Coronavirus symptoms update: New study identifies warning sign in the ears


Coronavirus has refused to play into the hands of expectation throughout its destructive campaign. More specifically, COVID-19 – the disease that has spawned from SARS-COV-2, a specific strain of coronavirus – has acted in ways quite unlike your typical respiratory infection. From blood clot formations to reports of psychosis, the damage it inflicts can be extensive.

This has made it a fiendishly difficult threat to categorise and one area that has proven particularly problematic is symptoms.

It has become all too apparent that the list of possible symptoms is vast and the net must be cast as wide as possible if governments and health bodies are to contain the threat.

This has led to criticism of some health bodies, such as the NHS, for only drawing attention to the “main symptoms”.

It is hard to quantify the extent to which the virus has gone undetected because the nation has focused on a “new, continuous cough”, for example.

READ MORE: Coronavirus symptoms update: The tell-tale signs in the eyes you could have COVID-19

The team, from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said the findings suggest that clinicians look in the ears for people who present with coronavirus symptoms, and that surgeons swab the ears before performing otology procedures.

How did the researchers gather their findings?

For the study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, the team looked at three patients who died of COVID-19.

One of the patients was a man in his 60s, the second a woman in her 60s and the third was a woman in her 80s.

Specimens were taken using swabs and stored in a solution called viral transport media before being tested.

Two of the three patients tested positive for the virus, known as SARS-CoV-2, in the mastoid or middle ear.

The woman in her 80s had the virus only in the right middle ear.

The man in his 60s had the virus in his left and right mastoids and in his left and right middle ears.

COVID-19 has been linked to ear-related complications previously.

An April 2020 study found COVID-19 induced in adults acute otitis media, a type of ear infection in which the area behind the eardrum becomes inflamed and infected.

Another study on 20 symptomless patients, with no history of hearing problems found that hearing abilities worsened after the infection had passed.

In light of the findings, the new study researchers recommended that people be screened for COVID-19 in the ear before undergoing middle ear procedures.

What should I do if I recognise COVID-19 symptoms?

According to the NHS, you should self-isolate if you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste).

You should also self-isolate if:

  • You’ve tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
  • You live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive
  • Someone in your support bubble has symptoms or has tested positive
  • You’re told by NHS Test and Trace that you’ve been in contact with a person with coronavirus





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