Coronavirus symptoms, such as the loss of smell and taste, have been recently verified by the UK NHS. Are loose stools a sign of Covid?
Diarrhoea is the condition when faeces are frequently exiting the bowels in liquid form.
The NHS added that associated symptoms include stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, headache and loss of appetite.
The excess loss of water in the faeces can also lead to dehydration.
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Signs of dehydration include fatigue, lightheadedness, dry tongue, sunken eyes, muscle cramps and rapid heartbeat.
Diarrhoea is not recognised by the NHS as a sign of Covid.
Instead, the health body reported: “Diarrhoea is usually a symptom of a bowel infection (gastroenteritis).”
Gastroenteritis can be caused by a virus, such as norovirus or rotavirus.
Another cause may be bacteria, such as campylobacter, Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), Escherichia coli (E. coli), salmonella or shigella – these bacteria can cause food poisoning.
A disturbing thought is that diarrhoea can also be caused by parasites.
For example, the Giardia intestinal parasite causes giardiasis.
There are other reasons behind diarrhoea too. These include:
- Feelings of anxiety
- Drinking too much alcohol
- A food allergy
- Damage to the lining of the intestines as a result of radiotherapy
And side effects from certain medications can include diarrhoea.
Short-term diarrhoea will usually clear up on its own after a few days.
To ease symptoms it’s important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
Experts agree that fatty or spicy foods should be avoided during this time.
And eating small, light meals will help – with salty foods highly recommended.
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The NHS recognises three main symptoms of Covid. These are:
- A new, continuous cough
- High temperature
- Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
It added: “Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.”
However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) does recognise diarrhoea as a “less common symptom” of Covid.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recognises diarrhoea as a symptom of Covid.
These conflicting messages beg the question: What should UK citizens do if they’re suffering from diarrhoea and believe it may be related to Covid?
The best course of action is to call NHS 111 for advice on your symptoms.
From there, you may be asked to order a test to check for Covid.
You may also need to complete the NHS Trace and Track Service if your results come back positive.
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