Why Viruses Cause Diarrhea
A number of different viruses, including coronavirus, can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common symptom because it is your bodys way of quickly clearing viruses, bacteria, and/or toxins from the digestive tract. However, diarrhea isnt always a symptom of COVID-19 and can also be experienced when an individual is not ill. This conundrum is what causes many people to wonder if their diarrhea is a sign that they have COVID-19 or if it is due to something else. If you know that youve recently come into direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and you begin having diarrhea, especially if in addition to other symptoms, there is a possibility that youve contracted it. Other symptoms of the coronavirus to monitor for include:
Is It Possible To Have Diarrhea With No Fever
Some people may experience diarrhea without other flu-like symptoms, like a fever. Diarrhea can be the first symptom of COVID-19.
In some cases, flu symptoms may come on after diarrhea. Some people may only experience gastrointestinal symptoms without developing any of the more common symptoms.
Research suggests that the virus that causes COVID-19 can enter your digestive system through cell surface receptors for an enzyme called angiotensin converting enzyme 2 . Receptors for this enzyme are 100 times more common in the gastrointestinal tract than the respiratory tract.
increased risk of developing some types of viral infections.
However, research hasnât yet found that people with IBD are more likely to develop COVID-19 than people without IBD.
New information about COVID-19 is emerging rapidly. As researchers collect more data, itâs possible that research will find that having IBD does increase your risk for developing COVID-19.
According to at an IBD center in Milan, people with IBD should take extra precautions to avoid the virus. These include:
- frequent handwashing
- covering your face when coughing and sneezing
- avoiding people with flu-like symptoms
- staying at home when possible
If you have IBD and have tested positive for COVID-19, speak to your doctor about whether you should stop taking certain medications.
How Do You Know If Your Gi Symptom Is Due To The Coronavirus
COVID-19 symptoms can surface anywhere between two and 14 days after exposure. If youve been in contact with someone whos been diagnosed and you start to experience GI symptoms, including diarrhea, contact your doctor via phone or a virtual visit. Theyll ask you a series of questions to rule out other possibilities, like food poisoning or other causes of gastrointestinal problems.
Diarrhea is defined as having loose bowel movements three or more times in one day, and it usually lasts one or two days. If it doesnt go away after that, contact your physician.
According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 to watch out for include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
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Is Diarrhea A Sign Of Covid
Were still learning a lot about COVID-19, including all of its possible symptoms and lingering effects. By now, youre no doubt familiar with some of the most common signs, like fever, cough and shortness of breath. A few weeks into the pandemic, we also learned that some people can experience a loss of taste or smell.
But COVID-19 doesnt just affect your respiratory system. It can also affect your gastrointestinal system. And that means that there are GI symptoms to know and watch out for. These include:
These symptoms can sometimes begin before respiratory symptoms start, but not always. So far, research shows that GI symptoms arent inevitable if you are diagnosed with COVID-19. In one study, about 60% of those diagnosed with the coronavirus experienced at least one GI symptom.
What Do I Need To Know About Mis
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is a condition unique to children where different body parts can become inflamed, including the gastrointestinal organs, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, skin or eyes. The cause of MIS-C is yet to be determined however, it is likely an excessive or inappropriate immune response related to a recent infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 within four weeks before MIS-C symptoms occurred. There are a variety of symptoms associated with MIS-C including fever, severe illness, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Like with COVID-19, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea alone are not symptoms of MIS-C however, if your child has been exposed to COVID-19 and is presenting GI symptoms out of the ordinary, contact your pediatrician.
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If You Have Symptoms Of Covid
- Stay home and isolate yourself from others.
- Get tested. See available testing options.
Symptoms lasting more than four weeks
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 more than four weeks after being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19,you may be experiencing a Post-COVID Condition. Visit our page on Long COVID to learn more.
Fully vaccinated with symptoms of COVID-19
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, and you are fully vaccinated, you should isolate yourself from others, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, and get tested. Follow recommendations from your health care provider and local health department once you receive your test result.
What Should Parents Know About Coronavirus Prevention In Kids With Digestive Diseases
Parents who have a child with a chronic gastrointestinal condition, such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease or liver disease, may have heightened concern related to COVID-19. Some of this is justified, but the most important thing to remember is the importance of thorough handwashing. COVID-19 can be transmitted through stool, so itâs extremely critical to practice good hand hygiene when changing a diaper and after going to the bathroom.
If you have a child with a chronic GI illness, he or she should stay on their medicines. There has not been any evidence that Remicade, or the other medications that help regulate the immune system, put an adult or child at a higher risk for COVID-19. So donât stop taking them. This could cause the GI disease to get out of control, which could raise the risk of contracting COVID-19.
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Diarrhea As A Symptom Of The Coronavirus
Diarrhea. You know if you have THIS digestive condition. People who suffer from diarrhea experience loose, watery stools more frequently than normal and often experience a sense of urgency to go. Generally, there are two types of diarrhea, acute and chronic. Acute diarrhea lasts a short time, about three to 5 days. Chronic diarrhea is usually related to other digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease and may last for as long as you have the illness. Diarrhea has been added as a symptom of the coronavirus .
Patient Diagnosis And Inclusion Criteria
We then matched each of these patients to another patient from the cohort with only respiratorybut not digestivesymptoms, including cough, expectoration, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and sore throat. Matching was based on sequential hospital identification numbers such that the next admitted patient who met the study criteria but who lacked digestive symptoms was enrolled as a control. Finally, we further divided the patients with digestive symptoms into those with only digestive symptoms, and those with both digestive and respiratory symptoms, yielding 3 groups for comparison, herein referred to as Digestive Only,Digestive + Respiratory, and Respiratory Only. We monitored the clinical outcomes in these 3 groups until March 18, 2020, the final date of the follow-up.
This study was approved by the Medical Ethical Review Committee, Union Hospital of Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China .
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Potential Consequences Of Covid
A great body of experimental and clinical evidence demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 infects and replicates in the GIT, and the stool contains high copies of viral RNA, although the amount of infectious virus in the stool appears to be low. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the feces may potentially facilitate the spread of COVID-19 through fecal-oral transmission among humans and contaminate the environment. Thus, SARS-CoV-2 infection of the GIT has important epidemiological significance.
The feces of COVID-19 patients pose a serious epidemiological risk, which justifies the use of all available methods of prevention, including protective equipment, disinfection procedures, and vaccination. However, further studies are needed to establish the efficiency of the fecal-oral spread of SARS-CoV-2 precisely. It would be very useful if the concentration of infectious virion particles in the stool were determined in asymptomatic individuals and different patient groups under standardized parameters when discharge frequencies and the grade on the Bristol stool scale are precisely recorded. It is possible that the rate of virus inactivation in the intestinal lumen may significantly differ in COVID-19 patients.
How Is Coronavirus Treated
Most people with a mild illness, including children, donât need any specific treatment. They get better with rest, fluids, and fever-reducing medicine.
A very few kids ages 12 and older who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 can get monoclonal antibodies. This special medicine is given within 10 days of when symptoms start or from when a child was around someone with COVID-19. It can keep them from getting very sick and needing hospital care.
Some people who get very sick from COVID-19 will need hospital care, possibly in the ICU. Doctors can closely watch them, give oxygen or IV fluids if needed, and treat any problems. Rarely, they will give medicines such as antiviral drugs or steroids. Someone who needs extra help to breathe will be connected to a breathing machine .
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What Should I Do If My Child Has Symptoms
- can be treated at home
- should come in for a visit
- can have a video or telehealth visit
In a telehealth visit, a health care provider can see your child on video while you stay at home. If you can, choose a telehealth provider who specializes in caring for kids. If the doctor thinks your child needs care right away, they will guide you on where to go. When possible, check for telehealth in your area before anyone in your family is sick.
Watch for signs that your child might need more medical help. Go to the ER if your child:
- looks very sick to you
- has breathing problems. Look for muscles pulling in between the ribs or the nostrils puffing out with each breath.
- is confused or very sleepy
- has chest pain
- has cold, sweaty, pale or blotchy skin
- is dizzy
- has very bad belly pain
Other Causes Of Diarrhea
Of course, diarrhea can be related to many other conditions aside from COVID-19 and the flu. Unexpected diarrhea can be a result of a change in medication, food that has expired or that youre intolerant to, heavy exertion or exercises like running, and a variety of other scenarios. If youre experiencing diarrhea without any other symptoms, then theres a good chance that it is not due to COVID-19. However, this doesnt mean that you should ignore your bowel issues. Diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration, so its important that you take the right precautions and rehydrate. Water is a good way to replace fluids, but it doesnt contain salts and electrolytesminerals such as sodium and potassiumthat are essential for your body to rehydrate and function. Because of this, you should also try to consume beverages like fruit juices and sports drinks for potassium or broths for sodium. Since many fruit juices and sports drinks contain large amounts of sugar, you can consider mixing them with water. Make sure to contact your primary care physician before adjusting your diet while experiencing GI symptoms certain fruit juices, such as apple juice, can make diarrhea worse.
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Treating Diarrhea At Home
Most cases of diarrhea can be treated with simple, at-home remedies, such as:
- Staying hydrated Dehydration is a serious concern for those with diarrhea. Children should be given Pedialyte or another pediatric hydration solution, while sports drinks like Gatorade can be effective for teenagers and adults.
- Taking medication An over-the-counter medication, such as Pepto-Bismol or Imodium, can help relieve symptoms.
- Eating a BRAT diet Bananas, white rice, applesauce, and toast, aka the BRAT diet, help firm up stool and alleviate diarrhea symptoms. Stay away from fried, greasy, and high-fiber foods.
If your symptoms do not improve within a few days or are accompanied by a fever of more than 102°F, bloody or black stools, or severe abdominal pain, rectal pain, or dehydration, seek medical attention at an urgent care center such as PhysicianOne Urgent Care. Our facilities are open seven days per week with extended hours, and we can treat you promptly.
Diarrhea Stomach Ache And Nausea: The Many Ways Covid
by Vincent Ho, The Conversation
Media reports earlier this week described a Queensland nurse with stomach pains who went on to test positive for COVID-19.
Could stomach pains be another symptom of COVID-19? And if you have stomach pains, should you get tested?
Although we might think of COVID-19 as a respiratory disease, we know it involves the gut. In fact SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, enters our cells by latching onto protein receptors called ACE2. And the greatest numbers of ACE2 receptors are in the cells that line the gut.
COVID-19 patients with gut symptoms are also more likely to develop severe disease. That’s partly because even after the virus has been cleared from the respiratory system, it can persist in the gut of some patients for several days. That leads to a high level of virus and longer-lasting disease.
We also suspect the virus can be transmitted via the fecal-oral route. In other words, the virus can be shed in someone’s poo, and then transmitted to someone else if they handle it and touch their mouth.
What type of gut symptoms are we talking about?
A review of more than 25,000 COVID-19 patients found about 18% had gastrointestinal symptoms. The most common was diarrhea followed by nausea and vomiting. Abdominal pain was considered rare. In another study only about 2% of COVID-19 patients had abdominal pain.
Are gut symptoms recognized?
However, the World Health Organization still only lists diarrhea as a gastrointestinal COVID-19 symptom.
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When Should Parents Call A Childs Doctor About Coronavirus Symptoms Gi Symptoms Or Both
As always, if your child is on one of the medications that affect your immune systems, and develops a fever, diarrhea or a significant cough, get in touch with your physician team. Many issues can be resolved over the phone or through a telemedicine visit, preventing the need for a hospital visit.
Comer Childrenâs patients can contact the pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition team at 773-702-6169 or through MyChart. You can also access the expertise of our specialists without having to leave home through our remote second opinions program.
Disease Severity And Risk Factors For Severe Disease
There is a spectrum of COVID-19 disease severity, ranging from asymptomatic to mild, to moderate, severe and critical disease. Severe disease more often occurs in those with increasing age and those with underlying medical conditions, with the risk increasing with the number of underlying conditions.
Two large cohort studies in the USA and the UK found the most common comorbidities were hypertension , hyperlipidemia , diabetes , and chronic pulmonary disease . High risk for mortality was associated with increasing number of comorbid conditions. A comprehensive CDC scientific evidence review process and a Canadian rapid review have recently been published to update the list of underlying medical conditions associated with more severe COVID-19 disease. The conditions identified in these reviews are listed below:
Underlying medical conditions associated with more severe COVID-19 disease:
- solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
- stroke or cerebrovascular disease
- substance use disorders
*Overweight = body mass index > 25 kg/m2 but < 30 kg/m2), obesity , or severe obesity
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Newest Variant Still Poorly Understood
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Omicron variant COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organization by South Africa on November 25, and the first case was found in the United States in a person recently arrived from South Africa.
One of the first doctors to suspect a different COVID-19 strain among patients told Reuters that symptoms of the new variant were so far mild and could be treated at home.
Most of them are seeing very, very mild symptoms, and none of them so far have admitted patients to surgeries. We have been able to treat these patients conservatively at home, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and chair of the South African Medical Association, said.
She noted that patients with Omicron havent reported loss of smell or taste, and the new variant hasnt yet caused a major drop in oxygen levels with the new variant.
How Can I Keep My Family Safe If My Child Has Symptoms
- Keep your family home until you talk to your doctor. If the doctor thinks your child’s symptoms could be COVID-19, everyone in the household should stay home until testing is done or symptoms are gone. Check the CDC’s website for details.
- Keep other people and pets in the house away from your child as much as possible.
- Try to have one person only care for the sick child so others are not exposed.
- If your child is over 2 years old and can wear a mask without finding it hard to breathe, have them wear one when the caregiver is in the room. Don’t leave your child alone while they’re wearing a mask. The caregiver also should wear one when in the same room. For more about masks, check the CDC’s guide.
- If possible, have your sick child use a different bathroom from others. If that isn’t possible, wipe down the bathroom often.
- Everyone in your family should wash their hands well and often. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Use regular household cleaners or wipes to clean things that get touched a lot . Do this every day.
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