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COVID-19 symptoms vary person to person

I am under the impression most people are familiar with the symptoms of COVID and are tuned in to watching for them. Wondering if you can tell me if the symptoms come on suddenly, or one by one, etc. Any pattern?

— Via email

Symptoms associated with this illness are rather variable person to person, age to age, according to the experts.

Most adults experience some degree of cough, shortness of breath or low-grade fever in the early stages, according to Tanya Phillips, health promotion program manager with Jackson County Public Health. Malaise, muscle aches, fatigue, headache and difficulty thinking are also common early on.

“Since the initial symptoms of COVID relate to the actual viral invasion, those symptoms often are more like other viral syndromes than the symptoms experienced late in the disease process when the immune system is responsible for most of the disease effects (long after the virus effects have waned),” Phillips said via email. “They can come all together or one after another.”

Children are more likely to have mild disease, and more likely to have gastrointestinal symptoms than adults. Children can also develop the rare multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, a condition in which different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal (gut) pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired,” the CDC website says. “We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19.”

As the disease progresses, respiratory symptoms can worsen. A host of other problems can develop within the cardiovascular system, blood and even kidneys, Phillips said.

“Even after all evidence of infection is long gone, some individuals experience these same symptoms for many months,” Phillips said.

Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.