Diarrhoea is a sign of many different bugs and is normally cured by rest, water and paracetamol. However, it can also be a sign of a serious disease. What causes diarrhoea, and is diarrhoea a sign of coronavirus?
What is diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea is where you frequently pass watery or loose poo or frequently need to have a bowel movement.
Most of the time diarrhoea only lasts a few days and disappears by itself, but chronic diarrhoea lasts for at least four weeks.
Sometimes diarrhoea comes with other symptoms, such as:
- abdominal pain
- a fever
- bloody stools
- a large volume of stools
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In a UK study of 992 healthy children, gastrointestinal symptoms were very common among those who tested positive for coronavirus.
While half of those who tested positive had no symptoms, 31 percent had a fever and 19 percent had diarrhoea, vomiting or abdominal cramps.
Tom Waterfield, lead author of the antibodies study, told The BMJ, “Based on our findings I think that gastrointestinal symptoms should be added to the current list—high temperature, cough, and loss or change in sense of smell or taste—that trigger testing for coronavirus.
“Diarrhoea and vomiting in children should trigger a test.”
Other studies, such as a recent study from the University of Southern California, found that diarrhoea was common in Covid patients of all ages.
The study noted: “The most likely order of occurrence of symptoms in COVID-19 is fever, cough, nausea/vomiting, and diarrhoea.
“It is not detectable whether nausea/vomiting or diarrhoea are the first symptoms in influenza, but after these two, the least likely path continues from there to fever then cough.”
However, don’t forget that diarrhoea could be caused by a number of things so it doesn’t always indicate that you have coronavirus.
If diarrhoea is accompanied by more common Covid symptoms, you should get a test.