Coronavirus symptoms: Patient reveals when your cough is a sign of COVID-19

Coronavirus death toll moves inexorably up every day in the UK, with the current number of lives lost at 1,408 but this number will not reflect the true picture. Every healthcare system in the world currently faces the same predicament: how to reduce the transmission and minimise the harm to the public. The general public shoulder part of the responsibility by staying alert to the warning signs and self-isolating if you recognise them.


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Many people will be unsure as to whether their symptoms can be chalked up to an everyday ailment or in fact a sign of the deadly pathogen.

A prime example of this confusion is the sign in your cough, which the NHS has highlighted as a main warning sign.

While coughing is a commonplace habit for many people, there are a number of telltale signs that may indicate it is a sign of COVID-19.

To help distinguish between an everyday cough and the symptoms associated with COVID-19, a 25-year old victim has described his cough in harrowing detail.

As reported by The Daily Record, Calum Wishart, who was struck down with the virus 11 days ago, said: “The coughing is so aggressive that it causes severe pain all over your chest and can induce vomiting and diarrhoea.”

The young suffer also recalled how his coughing fit left him gasping for air.

Other ways to tell your cough is more serious

According to the NHS, another telltale sign is coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.

Corroborating Calum’s account, the health site also says that the cough may be worse than usual.

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Another key warning sign of COVID9 is a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature), it notes.

What do if you show mild symptoms

Public health bodies say your must not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.

This social distancing policy is called self-isolation.

According to official government instructions, if you are self-isolating, you must:

  • Not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least two metres (three steps) away from other people
  • Not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
  • Not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home


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You can use your garden, if you have one, however.

How long do I need to self-isolate for?

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for seven days, according to the NHS.

After seven days:

  • If you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to self-isolate
  • If you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal

“You do not need to self-isolate if you just have a cough after seven days,” explains the health site.

It adds: “A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.”

What if I live with someone at risk?

According to public health bodies, if you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep two metres (three steps) away from each other. If possible, try not to share a bed, says official health guidance.

While self-isolating, you can take steps to reduce the spread of infection in your home.

The most important measure is to wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds.

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