This data is consistent with reports from those working on the frontline.
“A lot of people have diarrhoea,” Dr Rajeev Fernando told Prevention US. “I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve seen with diarrhoea and no respiratory symptoms that end up having COVID-19.”
It begs the question… why isn’t it being talked about more? While diarrhoea does make the WHO’s list of coronavirus symptoms it certainly isn’t presented as a tell-tale sign to watch for.
As coronavirus is predominantly a respiratory illness – meaning it mainly affects the nose, mouth, throat, airways and lungs – it could be that patients don’t realise their tummy troubles are linked to COVID-19. Or, as Dr Fernando suggests, they might be too embarrassed to talk about it. “A lot of times, patients don’t volunteer that information.”
Plus, it’s not entirely clear why it occurs. Researchers who worked on the study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology believe the virus enters your system through “ a receptor found in both the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract where it is expressed at nearly 100-fold higher levels than in respiratory organs.”
So, what should you do if you develop the runs?
Firstly, call your doctor to discuss your symptoms. In Australia, it’s safe to assume you have coronavirus if you develop any suspicious symptoms – including diarrhoea if it goes hand in hand with a fever.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health