Clinical significance of ENT symptoms in Covid-19 times
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Clinical significance of ENT symptoms in Covid-19 times - An update Mon , Jun 20

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  • The author, Prof Dr Sanjeev Mohanty, is the HOD of the Institute of ENT, Head & Neck Surgery at MGM Healthcare


  • Symptoms are similar to the flu and may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.

  • Dry cough is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 but it’s also a common symptom of other viral illnesses like the common cold and flu. The odds of you having COVID-19 are still much lower than getting the common cold or seasonal flu.

  • Although, common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever and dry cough, some people also report a sore throat, shortness of breath,  fatigue, aches and pains,  headaches and a runny or stuffy nose.

  • Sudden loss of sense of smell or altered taste sensation are also early clinical indicators to be cautious about with this virus.

  • Symptoms can range from a mild illness to pneumonia. Some people have relatively fewer symptoms, if any, or display no symptoms when they first contract the virus. The spectrum of confusing clinical signs and symptoms in this pandemic is a challenge for healthcare professionals worldwide.

  • Influenza often includes muscle pains and headache, while these symptoms are less common in COVID-19. So far, severe COVID-19 has mainly affected older age groups and people with chronic illnesses. However, the recent trends show affliction of younger age groups without the presence of any comorbid conditions like diabetes, heart ailments, malignancy, respiratory problems, immunodeficiency states, etc.

  • A strong travel history, staying in and around hot spots, association with COVID-19 positive or suspect individuals are good reasons to seek medical attention and get the right advice to treat the disease and contain the virus locally. If you are caring for someone at home, monitor for emergency signs, prevent the spread of germs, treat the symptoms and carefully consider when to end home isolation.


  • When to end home isolation

    People with COVID-19 who have self-quarantined can stop home isolation under the following conditions.

  • If they aren’t getting tested to determine whether they are still contagious, they can leave home only if:

    – They have had no fever for at least 72 hours (without medications)

    – There is improvement of respiratory symptoms

    – At least 7 days have passed since the onset of disease

  • If they are getting tested to determine whether they are still contagious, they can leave home only if:

    – They no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers)

    – Other symptoms have improved (for example, when their cough or shortness of breath has improved)

    – Two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart

  • Person-to-person spread

    Maintaining good social distance (about 6 feet) is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19. These are some ways it can spread among people:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)

  • Through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs

  • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may also be spread by people who are not showing symptoms

  • Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

    It may be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads but we are still learning more about this virus. It is recommended that people practice frequent hand hygiene, which is either washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. It is also advisable to frequently clean surfaces.

  • How easily the virus spreads

    How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, which means it goes from person-to-person without stopping.

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people

  • Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggests that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, which is highly contagious

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