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Joint pain to eyeball stress: New COVID symptoms leave Kashmir doctors baffled

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Srinagar: Shock and disbelief washed over 30-year-old Umar (name-changed) when he tested positive for COVID-19 with absolutely no symptoms of respiratory illness, or loss of smell, and taste.

“However, his predominant symptoms were pain in the eye-balls, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. The gastrointestinal symptoms are becoming a common problem in many COVID-19 patients reported nowadays,” the doctor treating him said.

A senior doctor at SMHS Hospital, Srinagar, said last year, they were predominantly seeing the involvement of respiratory tract in COVID positive cases.

“But, a good proportion of patients are now coming with gastrointestinal symptoms. There occurs a mutation in the virus and due to the development of new strains, the predominance of organ involvement can change,” he said.  

Umar is not an isolated example reporting new symptoms of COVID-19. Rehana (name changed), 40, tested positive for the virus when she had absolutely no respiratory symptoms. This left her surprised and confused at the same time. 

“She developed joint pain, sharp pains in and around the neck, some electrical sensations in muscles along with dizziness, fatigue, loss of energy, headache,” the doctor who got in touch with her over teleconsultation said.

As COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Kashmir, new and lesser-known symptoms are beginning to show up in many patients.

“Gastrointestinal symptoms are becoming a common problem nowadays, along with muscle strains, joint pains, fatigue, loss of energy, dizziness. From these manifestations and the predominance of new symptoms, we can clinically assume that there is a new strain of virus circulating in Kashmir, “President Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK), Dr Suhail Naik said.

He pointed out that people who develop gastrointestinal symptoms, Myalgia, (which describes muscle aches and pain involving ligaments, tendons, and fascia, the soft tissues that connect muscles, bones, and organs, and Arthralgia (pain in a joint) should go for Covid testing at once.

Dr. Suhail Naik noted there is favorable development in patients with new symptoms at the same time. “The mortality rate is very less in them and they mostly recover from illness,” he said.

Pain Medicine Specialist, Dr. Tariq Trumboo had also tweeted about the new symptoms. “Sudden onset Muscle pain (myalgia), back pain, headache are the symptoms of new #Covid. If you have any of these — get tested,” he said.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reinstated guidance recently stated that direct contact with a sick person or through airborne transmission remains the primary cause of coronavirus’ spread.

The known symptoms identified by the global researchers are fever, cough, chills, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing repeated shaking with chills muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, according to CDC.

CDC advised that any unusual development or symptom should not be ruled out and requires testing. These include conjunctivitis or pink eye, dysfunction of Eustachian Tube/hearing loss with symptoms such as muffled hearing, reduced hearing, ear pain, etc, and gastrointestinal disorders.