COVID-19 Facts: Is Headache a Warning Sign of the Coronavirus?
COVID-19 or coronavirus disease 2019 is an infectious disease caused by a new coronavirus. People who are infected with this virus experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and usually recover without special treatment. However, older people and those with underlying medical conditions are more vulnerable and at risk of a serious disease.
The most common symptoms of this disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), are tiredness, dry cough, and fever. Although, some people have reported other symptoms like sore throat, nasal congestion, aches and pains, runny nose, and diarrhea.
Headache, however, is not that common among patients who tested positive. But according to a report by the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), 14% of infected people have said that they experienced it. This fact is becoming more apparent as more people are now documenting their COVID-19 battle through social media. According to most of the testimonials, the headaches they experienced can be pretty intense.
However, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, so why would it cause a headache? And why are other patients not affected?
According to Dr. William W. Li, author of Eat to Beat Disease, various viruses can cause the body to come up with responses to destroy the infection. One of these responses is when immune cells release cytokines, which are proteins that may cause inflammation, fatigue, fever, and even headache. If you experience these things, it may be a sign that your body is fighting an infection.
It’s still so difficult to concur why some patients get headaches while others don’t since these are non-specific symptoms. It can easily be pinpointed to infection and any other health conditions. Dr. Li says that headaches are not common symptoms of illnesses. These, however, may appear due to other underlying conditions.
What Causes a Headache?
While a headache is not considered a direct symptom of COVID-19, it can be caused by factors that are connected to the coronavirus. You can get headaches for a stuffy sinus or physical discomfort from coughing constantly. Dr. Li also adds frequent nose blowing as a possible trigger. Other things that could cause headaches are anxiety, not eating properly, lack of sleep, and not enough water intake.
If you tested positive of COVID-19 and is experiencing headaches as a symptom, Dr. Li suggests continuing your intake of pain relief medicines. That is if your doctor doesn’t tell you to stop. Li says that there were early reports that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen were not recommended for use by COVID-19 patients. However, this has not been proven by experience in hospitals.
A research that was recently published in the journal titled ecancermedicalscience analyzed 89 existing studies on other coronavirus strains like SARS and MERS. Based on the study published on March 30, there has been no evidence that proves that ibuprofen is harmful.
If you’re a COVID-19 patient or suspect to be one, ask your doctor which pain reliever to take for your headache. To supplement the medicine, make sure to eat nutritious food, drink plenty of fluids, and take enough rest.
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