Patients with COVID-19 report many different symptoms for the same disease. Though the symptoms differ for many people, most individuals affected with coronavirus will experience symptoms in a certain order. We’ll explain these findings.

Scientists at the University of South Carolina found those infected with the virus will usually experience symptoms in this order: fever, coughing, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, or both, and then diarrhea. These individuals are highly contagious. The contagion rate is about two to three times more than influenza.

Researchers note that fever and coughing usually associated with many different respiratory illnesses and should be taken very seriously due to the fact that it could be COVID-19. They found that in the three diseases that are often caused by the coronavirus, which include MERS, SARS, and COVID-19, the most common symptom of all is fever. The most common symptom of influenza is coughing. Though all of these diseases start with fever, the difference between the novel coronavirus and MERS and SARS is the timing of the issues in the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract and the pattern of all of the symptoms combined. The patterns are not the same in all of these diseases.

Nausea and vomiting in the upper GI tract are usually affected before diarrhea in the lower GI tract with COVID-19. In MERS and SARS, the fever and coughing often happen before the vomiting and diarrhea. The timing of the symptoms is important because doctors need to know when there are overlapping cycles of illnesses. A patient could have the flu along with the coronavirus. If doctors can diagnose the patient effectively, they know where to start so the condition does not worsen.

Researchers say that to slow the spread of the coronavirus, temperatures should be taken before going into facilities. If you have a fever, they should seek medical attention immediately for a diagnosis and contact tracing. This is just one way to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. People should also practice social distancing and wash their hands regularly. It’s important to note that not all diseases that start with fever will be the coronavirus. There are still other sicknesses out there and you should get tested as soon as possible if you have reason to believe you could have COVID-19.