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COVID-19: Could a headache be the only symptom?

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Aakash started in Nov 2018 as a writer at Revyuh.com. Since joining, as writer, he is mainly responsible for Software, Science, programming, system administration and the Technology ecosystem, but due to his versatility he is used for everything possible. He writes about topics ranging from AI to hardware to games, stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. He is a trained IT systems engineer and has studied computer science. By the way, he is enthusiastic about his own small projects in game development, hardware-handicraft, digital art, gaming and music. Email: aakash (at) revyuh (dot) com

A recent study published in Neurology Asia measured the frequency, duration and location of headaches in people with coronavirus and classified them.

It’s still a mystery how the coronavirus spreads, even for people who have already had the disease and are healthy again. Many people have experienced the harrowing experience that seems to go on forever after getting COVID-19.

It is that one of the great problems that we have faced in One of the most difficult aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has been managing the virus’s many symptoms. In order to prevent chronic conditions, testing and continuity in medical studies are needed for various of symptoms including respiratory and cardiac difficulties as well as a loss of sense of smell, fever, cough, and even migraine and headaches.

After overcoming the infection phase, many patients still have multiple organs affected. While there are many hypotheses and studies being carried out, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that 1 in 10 people affected by the SARS-COV-2 virus, continue to present symptoms up to 3 months after being diagnosed.

The number of cases of mental illness linked to the coronavirus is growing, which is worrisome for doctors. Many COVID-19 convalescents are making repeated comments about dullness, mental slowness, memory loss, mental fog, confusion, or the need to exert extra effort in order to recall details.

More and more experts around the world insist on paying attention to the symptoms of prolonged COVID and have focused on the consequences that this disease leaves in the individuals who suffered it, remembering that interdisciplinary treatments must be carried out to address the health problems that are perceived so that they are not aggravated and thus improve the quality of life.

Several studies have shown that the most common neurological symptom in COVID-19 patients is headache. Some research also suggests that this could be the first and only symptom in some infections. This is suggested by a recent study published by the journal Neurology Asia whose main objective has been to determine the characteristics of headache by taking into account factors such as its frequency, duration and location, as well as the relationship that may exist between systemic inflammation caused by COVID-19 and headaches in patients infected by SARS-CoV-2.

The study included 202 patients hospitalized for COVID-19. Of these, 101 had headaches and 101 did not. The authors of the study evaluated the demographic characteristics, symptoms, medical history and the results of various laboratory tests of all patients.

In the group reporting headaches, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores were recorded, analyzing aspects such as duration, severity and location of pain. 

This scale has at one end the absence of pain and at the other, a pain recorded at very high levels. At the time of evaluating it, the patient marks a point on this line to represent the degree of pain one suffers.

The findings showed that 119 (58.9%) of the patients had no headache in their previous medical history, whereas 21.3% (43/202) had a migraine history. Most of the patients with headache experienced short-term attacks of moderate-severity headaches (47.1%) that were pressing in nature (59%), and generalized (32.4%).

For a better evaluation, the researchers divided patients into two groups according to pain severity: one of patients with mild-to-moderate headache and one of those with severe headache.

Pain characteristics were compared between the groups, and it was observed that the pain duration was longer in the group with severe pain (p<0.001). When the groups with and without headaches were compared, no significant differences were found between the groups regarding inflammatory markers such as lymphocyte count, lactate dehydrogenase, C-reactive protein, ferritin, and D-dimer levels.

The study authors concluded that “the headache in our patients with COVID-19 was mostly new-onset, of moderate severity, compressive in nature, and generalized. Inflammatory markers were unrelated to the presence and
severity of the headaches.”

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