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Women better than men at detecting early signs of Covid, study claims

·2-min read
Women were more likely to report symptoms including loss of smell, chest pain and a persistent cough, according to the study (PA Archive)
Women were more likely to report symptoms including loss of smell, chest pain and a persistent cough, according to the study (PA Archive)

Women are more likely to detect early signs of coronavirus than men, researchers have claimed.

Ladies are more likely to recognise signs of the virus because they are better at noticing changes in their bodies, according to a study that looked at data from the Zoe Covid Symptom Study app.

Women were more likely to report symptoms including loss of smell, chest pain and a persistent cough, according to the study.

The findings, published in the journal Lancet Digital Health, discovered men were more likely to report symptoms which included shortness of breath, fatigue, chills and fever.

Researchers said the differences could be biological.

Also, it was noted women could be better at identifying more subtle symptoms than men.

Lead author Dr Claire Steves, from King’s College London (KCL), said: "It’s important people know the earliest symptoms are wide-ranging and may look different for each member of a family or household.

"We’re not the first study to show a difference in symptom reporting between men and women. Women report more symptoms overall than men, and women might be more sensitive to a wide range of symptoms. They are more likely to recognise symptoms within themselves.

"The point is we found a slightly different structure of symptoms between women and men, which means they may well need different symptoms to prompt them to get a test.

"We’ve always been a little bit concerned there were only three core symptoms, and now that testing is widely available, we should encourage people to get tested even if they have symptoms that aren’t core."

Researchers also found age differences in reported symptoms.

People aged 60 and above were more likely to say they had diarrhoea.

However, loss of smell wasn’t as widely reported among this age group.

Dr Liane dos Santos Canas, from KCL, and the first author of the study, told The Telegraph: "Currently, in the UK, only a few symptoms are used to recommend self-isolation and further testing. Using a larger number of symptoms - and only after a few days of being unwell - using AI [artificial intelligence], we can better detect Covid-19 positive cases.

"We hope such a method is used to encourage more people to get tested as early as possible to minimise the risk of spread."

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