Painful muscles have been identified as an indicator that a patient may develop severe lung disease, according to American experts.
The NHS currently lists only a persistent cough and high temperature as the main signs of coronavirus.
Researchers at New York University have found a link between sore muscles and severe cases of Covid-19 in an analysis of 53 patients in Wenzhou, China.
Megan Coffee, the infectious disease expert who led the study, said that deep muscle pain, called myalgia, was often manifested by patients.
However, Professor Coffee said she would ask a patient about shortness of breath before other less severe symptoms, such as body aches.
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She told Business Insider, “Our hope is to help the doctors in this first step so that we can identify who can get sick from the many mild cases. “
The World Health Organization has said that joint pain or pain has developed in about 15% of patients with coronavirus.
The pain is caused by chemicals called cytokines released into the body in response to the infection, according to The Sun.
Researchers also found that changes in the liver enzyme levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and hemoglobin were signs of the most severe cases of coronavirus.
Professor Coffee said that patients with these three symptoms are at risk for severe lung disease.
She added that knowing the first signs of a serious case could help health workers make decisions about hospital admissions.
The expert stressed that if a hospital bed was not available, staff could advise someone with severe symptoms to come back the next day instead of just letting them go.