BY now, hopefully everyone knows about the key symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature and a new continuous cough.
However, as the number of Covid-19 cases in the UK continues to rise, you might be wondering just how long you’ll be ill for if you do contract the deadly bug.
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And there’s still a lot of confusion about how quickly symptoms develop after exposure to the virus and what you can expect if you do become infected.
As coronavirus is a very new illness, scientists are still scrambling to work out the nature of the illness and how it impacts different people.
However, from the information we do know, below we can take you through the approximate dates/timings for Covid-19 – from incubation to recovery…
Incubation – how long before symptoms show?
Symptoms are thought to appear between two and 11 days.
New research has found that the average incubation period of Covid-19 is 5.1 days.
A study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US found that almost all (97.5 per cent) of those who develop symptoms appeared to do so within 11.5 days of infection.
“We have a lot of confidence that the incubation period is around five days,” said Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health who led the study.
“Some people will have really short incubation periods and some people will have really long ones.
“The goal is catching most cases that are infected and have symptoms developed before the deadline.”
As Covid-19 is a new virus, experts are still working to understand it.
Other researchers studying a smaller number of cases estimated Covid-19 has an incubation period as short as two days to as long as 14 days, with a few reported cases taking up to 27 days to develop.
And team of researchers who studied 138 patients with Covid-19 at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University found that on average it took five days for people to develop signs of breathing difficulties – from displaying the first symptoms.
How long will symptoms last?
For most people, the first symptoms will be fever (temperature above 37.8 degrees C) and/or cough, which is usually dry to start with.
However, muscle aches and pains and feeling generally very tired are also common. Sore throat and blocked nose are less common and runny nose or sneezing less common still.
In 85 per cent of people with coronavirus, these symptoms will have settled within a week – the minimum time at which you can leave self-isolation.
According to Patient Info, you may continue coughing for a couple of weeks after this, meaning you should be very careful to maintain social distancing, as everyone should.
When do symptoms progress?
In people with more severe infection, shortness of breath is likely to become more marked around seven to ten days after they develop symptoms.
And, on average, patients with worsening breathing problems tend to be entered into an intensive care unit at day ten.
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Dyspnoea – shortness of breath – tends to cease after about 13 days for those who survive and continue until point of death for those who didn’t.
According to Chinese researchers, from illness onset, the average time to death is 18.5 days and the average time to discharge was 22 days for those who made it past intensive care.
How long does it take to recover?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it can take anywhere from two to six weeks to recover from Covid-19.
The rate of recovery will depend on the severity of the disease as well as treatment.
WHO wrote in a report: “The median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately two weeks and is three to six weeks for patients with severe or critical disease.”
Dr Hilary Jones, yesterday revealed he expects Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is currently in intensive care with coronavirus, to take at least two weeks to recover.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Dr Hilary said: “He’s likely to need, I would think, a minimum of two to three weeks to recover from this.
“The GPs and medical colleagues I know who have recovered from Covid-19 and have nursed themselves from home say that this is a life-changing experience for them.
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“This has actually changed they way they look at life. They felt completely exhausted, completely wiped out… still breathless after two to three weeks and only now starting to feel back to their normal self.
“So he’s likely to be very unwell for two or three weeks, therefore the machinery needs to kick in to run the country on his behalf in the meantime.”
Recovering patients can still spread the disease as their body discharges the virus.