From severity to location: How to spot a Covid headache? The new NHS symptom explained

Covid symptoms: Dr Amir urges government to update website

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From the one painful spot that won’t budge to a whole orchestra of chainsaws inside your head, a headache is far too familiar for many. It’s also the one sign that comes and goes with a variety of health problems. And Covid is no different.

ZOE COVID Symptom Study app has shared that millions of their users report headaches as a symptom of Covid.

Now, after a long-time of lobbying and pressure on the NHS, the health service has expanded its list of main symptoms, adding this sign.

When it comes to a Covid headache, this symptom tends to be one of “the earliest” signs of the virus.

What’s more, it tends to be more “common” than the traditional symptoms, such as loss or change to your sense of taste and smell, according to data from ZOE.

The project shares five signs that could help spot a Covid headache.

The dreaded headache tends to:

  • Be moderately to severely painful
  • Feel like pulsing, pressing or stabbing
  • Occur across both sides of the head (bilateral) rather than in one area
  • Last for more than three days
  • Be resistant to regular painkillers.
  • Regarding the timeframe when you can experience this sign, it tends to appear at the “very start” of the illness.

And it tends to stick around for about three to five days on average.

Unfortunately, some people can struggle with Covid headaches for much longer.

This annoying sign is one of the commonly reported symptoms in people with long Covid as well.

When it comes to the prevalence of this sign, around seven in 10 people with coronavirus suffer from a headache.

What are the other NHS Covid symptoms?

Apart from the original three signs – fever, cough and loss or change to taste and smell – the NHS now lists nine more symptoms.

These include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • Aching body
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick or being sick.

From the look of these signs, you can probably tell that they are “very similar” to the likes of cold and flu, the health service adds.

Although you’re no longer required to self-isolate by law, the NHS still advises staying at home when you have Covid.

“Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms of COVID-19,” they write.

The health service recommends getting back to normal activities only once you feel better or don’t have a high temperature.

“Take extra care to avoid close contact with anyone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19,” they conclude.


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