A range of symptoms that is often quite subtle in older adults can indicate a covid infection. Just being aware of that can help you decide what’s best for your family and loved ones.
Since the pandemic started, there’s a trend towards not being able to be “just” sick with upper respiratory symptoms like we could have before this event catapulted onto the scene. Having a sore throat or allergies can suddenly send us to the moon with worry. Conversely, subtle things like sleeping a lot, lack of energy, or having a bout of stomach ailments may be seen as not being potentially serious since we associate covid more with upper respiratory symptoms.
A new large-scale study in the respected Journals of Gerontology provides unfamiliar advice: “Covid can look different in older patients.” A third of the older adults hospitalized exhibited symptoms that did not mirror the more familiar “fever, cough, and shortness of breath” picture. Out of the ordinary symptoms those sick individuals experienced included things we might simply associate with reduced function in later years – easy to overlook, but potentially deadly if not heeded. About half of those with atypical symptoms also had at least one of the more familiar fever, trouble breathing, or coughing.
Allison Marziliano, lead author of the study, noted that the rate of atypical symptoms rose significantly with age. Some of the atypical symptoms seen among those hospitalized for covid were:
Dr. Marziliano reports that among these individuals “Their mortality rate was as high. So this shouldn’t be dismissed… Clinicians should know, older adults should know, their caregivers should know: If you see certain atypical symptoms, it could be Covid.”
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