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Symptoms vary for COVID-19 patients

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One of the challenging issues with COVID-19 is the symptoms can look so different from person to person, said Dr. Casey Clements, an emergency medicine physician from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“COVID-19 can look like allergies or a cold,” Clements said during media interviews Friday. “Almost everyone has a fever during this. The second most common symptom is a cough.”

COVID-19 hits numerous systems in the body, which is why there are so many different reactions to the virus.

Some people are reporting symptoms ranging from diarrhea to nausea and even loss of sense of smell. Clements said that is confusing because those symptoms often are the same as what people experience with the common flu.

Roughly 25% of people wind up being hospitalized, and nationwide, about 3% of those infected have died from the virus. Meanwhile, many people infected with coronavirus barely develop symptoms.

Clements said many people can stay at home to safely recover, as long as they make sure to isolate themselves from others. But he also said people need to get to a hospital immediately if symptoms worsen.

“It’s really important to seek emergency care if you are coughing up blood,” Clements said. “This is far more dangerous than the flu.”

Clements cautioned people to alert hospitals before arriving if they believe they have COVID-19, to avoid spreading the disease.

COVID-19 is the same strain of coronavirus that is seen across the world, even though the percent of cases leading to deaths has been lower in western Wisconsin than other regions, he said.

“There hasn’t been any indication of any mutation of this virus,” he said.

Clements cautioned people to not read too much into the mortality rate because so many people aren’t being tested, or not reporting illnesses.

“We really don’t know how many people have this disease,” Clements said. “I don’t know if we’ll ever know.”

Clements stressed the importance of self-isolation if someone develops COVID-19 symptoms.

“You should have a plan to get supplies for two to four weeks,” he said. “There needs to be really intensive cleaning of everywhere that person touches.”

While a tiger in a zoo has tested positive for COVID-19, Clements said that it appears most animals aren’t in danger of getting the virus.

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