Coronavirus symptoms: Doctor reveals key characteristic of the virus to remember |

Coronavirus can be very similar to the flu, so how do Britons know if they have it? A doctor reveals the key characteristic of the virus to remember.

Official NHS information touts the two main symptoms of an infection of COVID-19: a new, continuous cough and fever.

Many people will experience the virus with no worrisome symptoms.

And the NHS 111 online service will recommend you and your family will need to stay at home to stop the disease from spreading to others.

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People with underlying health conditions, and the elderly, are more likely to suffer negative consequences from the virus.

It’s for these people, a doctor has a stark warning.

A pattern has emerged in how patients respond to COVID-19.

At first, people experience mild symptoms such as a slight cough or a headache.

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Coronavirus: Doctor reveals key characteristic

Coronavirus: Doctor reveals key characteristic of the virus (Image: Getty)

Then, in the second week of suffering from the infection, a person’s health can suddenly decline.

Dr Joshua Denson, a critical-care physician in New Orleans, described the first phase of the illness as a “slow burn” to NBC News.

His description was based on the 15 to 20 patients he had seen with confirmed coronavirus.

At present, only those hospitalised are being tested for coronavirus.

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Michelle Gong, the director of critical-care research at Montefiore Medical Center, added to the notion that the infection starts off slowly, and quickly worsens.

In a Q&A with the Journal of the American Medical Association said patients with confirmed COVID-19 seemed to be “doing OK, and then at around the five- to seven-day mark, they start to get worse and then develop respiratory failure”.

Gong described the second wind of the virus as “very abrupt”, stating COVID-19 patients don’t usually experience respiratory failure in the first few days of hospitalisation.

She added: “It’s not yet predictable to us as to who will get it and who will not.

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Coronavirus: People may mistaken that they’ve got better, and then suddenly fall terribly ill (Image: Getty)

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Another doctor observed the same pattern in his patients.

Dr Christopher Ohl, an infectious-diseases expert in North Carolina, told NBC News he’d seen patients say they think they’re getting better, but within a day, “they’ve got fevers, severe fatigue, worsening cough, and shortness of breath”.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed there’s evidence that patients see a “clinical deterioration during the second week of illness”.

And a study published in The Lancet revealed that more than half of patients developed shortness of breath after being ill for about a week.

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Coronavirus: Respiratory complications can come on suddenly (Image: Getty)

If you’re suffering from a fever and a new, continuous cough, use the NHS 111 online service to check for any other worrying symptoms.

Should there be a cause for concern, you’ll be asked to call the NHS 111 phone line.

Remember, phone lines will be very busy at this time, but the NHS states: “You must wait to speak to someone.”

From there, a nurse will listen to your symptoms and tell you what to do next.