You’ve heard by now that the coronavirus can affect anyone, at any age. However, signs, symptoms, and severity of the highly infectious and deadly virus can vary from person-to-person, and more specifically, by age group. Read on to find your age and the symptoms that may befall you, so you can spot the virus when it strikes.
Older adults and/or people with existing chronic medical conditions are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19. In fact, according to the CDC the overwhelming majority of fatalities—80 percent—have been over the age of 65.
Older adults are also more likely to develop ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). According to a JAMA study, more than 40% of individuals in the study who were hospitalized with severe and critical COVID-19 developed the lung condition—and over 50% of those diagnosed died from the disease.
The CDC lists people over 65 or people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility as “people who are at higher risk for severe illness.”
According to the Kaiser Health Network, older adults with COVID-19 may have several “atypical” symptoms, complicating efforts to ensure they get timely and appropriate treatment. They claim that older adults may have none of the usual symptoms and may simply just seem “off” and not acting like themselves early in the infection.
“They may sleep more than usual or stop eating. They may seem unusually apathetic or confused, losing orientation to their surroundings. They may become dizzy and fall. Sometimes, seniors stop speaking or simply collapse,” they claim.
The chance of death due to COVID-19 does increase in this age group, according to the CDC.
As with the previous age group, blood clots and strokes have been reported in those who are asymptomatic or suffering mild symptoms.
According to the CDC, fewer deaths have been reported in the United States in adults up to the age of 40. People in this age group also tend to experience COVID-19 symptoms in a milder manner than those who are over 40.
However, blood clots—and even strokes, which are incredibly uncommon for younger people—have been reported in otherwise asymptomatic people in their 30s to 40s infected with the virus. The Washington Post recently reported that three large US medical institutions are getting ready to publish data on the subject after an overwhelming amount of patients under the age of 50 have died due to coronavirus-related strokes.
Based on the evidence, children are at a much lower risk for COVID-19 than adults, and there have been very few coronavirus-related deaths of those under 18, per the CDC.
While many of the symptoms for children are similar to adults, children with confirmed COVID-19 generally experience them in a milder capacity. In fact, one Chinese study found that 90% of those who tested positive for the virus had mild symptoms or none at all.
Reported symptoms in children, according to the CDC, include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. However, keep in mind that children and young adults are less likely to experience one of the main and most damaging symptoms of the virus—shortness of breath.
One bizarre symptom reported in young people has been dubbed “COVID toes.” On April 9 the General Council of Official Colleges of Podiatrists in Spain issued a report after podiatrists began “registering numerous cases of sick people, mainly children and young people, who had small dermatological lesions on their feet.” These purple-colored lesions, usually appearing on the tips of toes, were often in the absence or prior to an individual experiencing other COVID-19 symptoms. Luckily, most cases clear up on their own within a few weeks.
The World Health Organization is also “urgently” investigating a possible link between the virus and Kawasaki syndrome, an illness of unknown cause that primarily affects children under 5. Symptoms of the condition include “fever, rash, swelling of the hands and feet, irritation and redness of the whites of the eyes, swollen lymph glands in the neck, and irritation and inflammation of the mouth, lips, and throat,” according to the CDC.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, and muscle pain, according to the CDC. Other reported symptoms include conjunctivitis (aka pink eye) and digestive issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
“There are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting sick,” reports the CDC:
- Stay home if possible.
- Wash your hands often.
- Keep space between yourself and others (stay 6 feet away, which is about two arm lengths).
And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.