COVID-19 symptoms can cause a range of symptoms, from ranging from mild illness to pneumonia. Symptoms of the disease are fever, cough, sore throat and headaches. Known as the ‘dark horse’ symptom why does it occur in a COVID-19 infection?
To date, a headache has been reported in both early and late in the infection phase, with a later headache possibly being associated with worsening illness.
A headache can also be a symptom of COVID-19 in people with migraine.
In these cases, headaches have been reported as occurring prior to the onset of more typical COVID-19 symptoms, like fever and cough.
Studies have begun to address how common a headache is with COVID-19. The exact numbers can vary based on the population being studied. Research has found it occurred in around 11 to 34 percent of people hospitalized with COVID-19.
The “dark horses” of COVID symptoms include headaches and fatigue, according to the COVID Symptom Study app.
“Our data shows that the most commonly experienced early symptoms are actually headache (82 percent) and fatigue (72 percent) – and this is the case for all age groups,” said the Covid Symptom Study.
It continued: “Only nine percent of COVID-positive adults aged 18 – 65 didn’t experience headache or fatigue.
“Of course, headache and fatigue commonly occur in other conditions which is why they don’t trigger a test on their own.
In fact, only one percent of people who reported fatigue and/or headache on our app ended up testing positive for covid.
”So, while headache and fatigue are commonly found in people who have covid(alongside other symptoms), having either or both of those symptoms alone is unlikely to be indicative of covid.”
In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, headaches as a COVID-19 symptom were investigated.
The study noted: “After the emergence of a novel coronavirus named SARS‐CoV‐2, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) was initially characterized by fever, sore throat, cough, and dyspnoea, mainly manifestations of respiratory system.
“However, other manifestations such as headache, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, loss of taste and smell were added to the clinical spectrum, during the course of the COVID‐19 pandemic.
“The reports on the neurological findings are increasing rapidly and headache seems to be the leader on the symptom list.
“According to our initial experience, significant features of headache presentation in the symptomatic COVID‐19 patients were new‐onset, moderate‐severe, bilateral headache with pulsating or pressing quality in the temporoparietal, forehead or periorbital region.
“The most striking features of the headache were sudden to gradual onset and poor response to common analgesics, or high relapse rate, that was limited to the active phase of the COVID‐19.
“The possible pathophysiological mechanisms of headache include activation of peripheral trigeminal nerve endings by the SARS‐CoV‐2 directly or through the vasculopathy and/or increased circulating pro‐inflammatory cytokines and hypoxia.
“We concluded that as a common non‐respiratory symptom of COVID‐19, headache should not be overlooked, and its characteristics should be recorded with scrutiny.”
Headaches and fatigue are both very common, and don’t necessarily mean that you have coronavirus.
Persistent tiredness could be caused by simply not getting enough sleep or doing too much – or too little – exercise.
Headaches, meanwhile, may be linked to the common cold, stress, bad posture, and even taking too many painkillers.
Either way, your headaches or fatigue are more likely to be caused by coronavirus if it’s accompanied by any of the more common symptoms.