The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has quietly added three new symptoms of coronavirus to its list.
Congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea are now considered symptoms of COVID-19, according to the nation's top health agency.
The CDC's list was last updated in April to add loss of taste or smell. The agency also included chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. An earlier list of symptoms was limited to fever, coughing and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
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The latest on symptoms
Though the CDC says its list does not include all possible symptoms and will continue to be updated as more information related to coronavirus is discovered, the full list of key symptoms currently includes:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
The World Health Organization also breaks down its list of symptoms by severity, including other potential symptoms like conjunctivitis, rash or discoloration of fingers and toes, and loss of speech or movement.
Most common symptoms:
- dry cough.
Less common symptoms:
- aches and pains.
- sore throat.
- loss of taste or smell.
- a rash on skin, or discoloration of fingers or toes.
- difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
- chest pain or pressure.
- loss of speech or movement.
Skin doctors have also been looking at feet amid concern over a condition dubbed "COVID toes." The condition brings red, sore and sometimes itchy swellings on toes that look like chilblains, something doctors normally see on the feet and hands of people who’ve spent a long time outdoors in the cold.
According to the CDC, anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
Who is most at risk?
Last week, the CDC revamped its list of which Americans are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, adding pregnant women and removing age alone as a factor.
The CDC also changed the list of underlying conditions that make someone more susceptible to suffering and death. Sickle cell disease joined the list, for example. And the threshold for risky levels of obesity was lowered.
The changes didn't include adding race as a risk factor for serious illness, despite accumulating evidence that Black people, Hispanics and Native Americans have higher rates of infection, hospitalization and death.
Agency officials said the update was prompted by medical studies published since CDC first started listing high-risk groups. They sought to publicize the information before Independence Day weekend, when many people may be tempted to go out and socialize.
“For those at higher risk, we recommend limiting contact with others as much as possible, or restricting contacts to a small number of people who are willing to take measures to reduce the risk of (you) becoming infected,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield.
The same advice holds for people who live with or care for people at higher risk, Redfield added.
Previously, the CDC said those at high risk of serious illness included people aged 65 years and older; those who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility; and people with serious heart conditions, obesity, diabetes, liver disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, and conditions that leave them with weakened immune systems.
In the changes, CDC created categories of people who are at high risk and people who might be at high risk.
Those who are at high risk include people with chronic kidney disease, chronic inflammatory lung disease, obesity, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, and weakened immune systems because of organ transplants. The threshold for obesity concern was lowered from a body mass index of 40 down to 30.
The CDC said people are at increasing risk as they get older, but it removed people 65 and older as a high risk group.
The list of people who might be at high risk includes pregnant women, smokers and those with asthma, diseases that affect blood flow to the brain, cystic fibrosis, high blood pressure, dementia, liver disease, scarred or damaged lungs, Type 1 diabetes, a rare blood disorder called thalassemia, and people who have weakened immune systems due to HIV or other reasons.
CDC officials say they expect to come out with recommendations for racial and ethnic minority groups soon.