BENGALURU: While there are many posts from pulmonologists circulating on social media about Covid-19 patients reporting different viral symptoms, unlike the classic signs of the infection in the second wave, experts in Karnataka are divided over these new symptoms.
The posts on social media claim there is an increase in patients coming with conjunctivitis, severe gastric issues, abdominal pain, palpitations, along with dysfunction of the Eustachian tube or hearing loss.
“I see many patients coming in with redness in the eye which can be called ‘pink eye’ and complaining of muffled hearing and pain in the ears. These are new symptoms which can be linked to ‘post-acute sequelae of Covid-19’ (PASC),” said Dr Mohan G, ENT consultant, Sagar Hospitals.
Interestingly, in the second wave, doctors have apparently found that gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms precede respiratory symptoms.
“While I have seen some with severe abdominal pain, many come with diarrhoea and sudden catch in the stomach. These may not be new symptoms, but earlier there were about 2 per cent patients, but now the number has gone up to 50 per cent,” said Dr Bindumath P L, senior consultant for internal medicine at Aster CMI Hospital.
Doctors in Karnataka say they have seen some patients with strain not domiciled in the nasopharyngeal region but directly in the lungs, which means the window periods are shortened, leading to pneumonia, but this can’t be generalised yet.
Dr Shashikiran Umakanth, Professor and Head, Department of Medicine, and nodal officer, Covid-19, Dr TMA Pai Hospital, Udupi, said, “I have read the posts, but so far, we haven’t seen any new symptoms, as such, in patients in Udupi. However, there have been very few cases of patients with no fever, but an X-ray shows moderate or mild chest pneumonia. But it may be too early to comment on this,” he said.
Some doctors have claimed the new variant is highly infectious and can easily spread to the lungs, respiratory passageways and cause pneumonia, which is a lethal Covid complication.
However, Dr Satyanarayana Mysore, renowned pulmonologist and HOD, Sleep Medicine, Manipal Hospitals, Bengaluru, said, “These symptoms were there earlier too. Maybe the number of people coming in with such symptoms has gone up due to more testing, and awareness. Also, doctors are adapting to a syndromic approach to testing, hence such cases are getting detected,” he explained.