London: A new research published in The Lancet Digital Health suggests that early Covid-19 symptoms may differ among age groups and between men and women.
While men were more likely to report shortness of breath, fatigue, chills and shivers women were more likely to report loss of smell, chest pain and a persistent cough.
However, these differences are most recognisable between younger age groups (16-59 years) compared to older age groups (60-80 years and over).
They found that the loss of smell in people over 60 years of age and was not relevant for subjects over 80. Other early symptoms such as diarrhoea were key in older age groups (60-79 and over 80). Fever, while a known symptom of disease, was not an early feature of the disease in any age group.
"It's important people know the earliest symptoms are wide-ranging and may look different for each member of a family or household," said lead author Claire Steves from King's College London.
The team analysed data from a Covid symptom study app between April 20 to October 15 and modelled the early signs of Covid-19 infections.Later, they compared the ability to predict early signs of Covid-19 infection using a type of machine learning (ML).
18 symptoms which had different relevance for early detection in different groups were examined by the researchers.
The most important symptoms for the earliest detection of Covid-19 overall included loss of smell, chest pain, persistent cough, abdominal pain, blisters on the feet, eye soreness and unusual muscle pain.
The ML model was also able to incorporate some characteristics about the person affected, such as age, sex, and health conditions, and showed that symptoms of early Covid-19 infection are different among various groups.