But as the deadly illness continues to wreak havoc around the world, many are asking if other signs of the disease are going unnoticed.
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However, while some people develop mild or no symptoms, others have no choice but to seek treatment at hospital.
According to the Saudi Ministry of Health website, coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
The illness can sometimes develop into pneumonia, and can cause severe complications in people with weak immune systems, the elderly, or those with chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and lung problems.
Yet many people who later tested positive for COVID-19 experienced symptoms that are not included in the ministry’s list. It was only when their illness worsened and they went to hospital that they discovered they were carrying the virus.
Khuloud Mullah, 43, who works in the diplomatic sector in Riyadh, fell ill while she was isolated with her family in Yanbu.
“The Ministry of Health mentioned only four symptoms. They didn’t mention feeling dizzy and weak or body pain. The ministry selected only four symptoms — that’s why we excluded the fact that it was coronavirus,” Mullah told.
Symptoms took several days to appear, she said.
“When my niece caught the virus, the first thing was that she felt dizzy and fell on the floor. Then her father felt the same dizziness along with nausea and severe headache.”
She added: “You can’t move one step without holding on to something. The dizziness makes you feel that you just want to lie down the whole time.”
Mullah said that people should be aware that symptoms can differ from one person to another depending on their immune response.
She also experienced headaches. “Like migraines, the pain can move around different areas of the head,” she said.
Mullah and her sisters suffered severe aches, but said that until she was hospitalized it never occurred to her that this might be another symptom of the virus.
Dizziness and body pain are side effects of coronavirus, and each patient might experience different side effects depending on their immune system.
Dr. Fadwa Al-Ofi, An infectious disease specialist
She also mentioned a constant high fever, saying it was as if she was “running a marathon.”
“Whenever you get a high fever, you immediately get dizzy, too. When these symptoms appear, everything falls apart — you find yourself in bed, you can’t move and your condition gets worse.”
A loss of taste and smell can occur a week after experiencing the first symptoms.
One of the final symptoms is shortness of breath. “I had to practice inhaling and exhaling, and it was so painful when I took a deep breath,” she said.
Mullah and other members of her family hit by the virus slept almost 24 hours a day and only woke to eat while in hospital.
Dr. Fadwa Al-Ofi, an infectious disease specialist, told Arab News that dizziness and body pain are side effects of coronavirus, and each patient might experience different side effects depending on their immune system.
Fatigue is a common symptom associated with COVID-19, she said.
“All symptoms are reported to public health officials who, in turn, record patient data and symptoms in a screening system through a program called HESN (Health Electronic Surveillance Network),” Al-Ofi added.
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