To evaluate and compare the knowledge about the clinical features, symptoms and differences between patients with COVID-19, SARS, influenza, and common cold. The research can help ear, nose and throat specialists and other health practitioners manage patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The biomedical databases used in the study included PubMed and MEDLINE. Statistical analysis using the Z-score test assessed which symptoms were more characteristic of COVID-19 than other viral diseases.
Among individuals with COVID-19, the most frequently reported symptoms were cough (70%), fever (45%), muscular pain (29%), and headache (21%), whereas sore throat (12%), and rhinorrhea (4%) were observed at lower rates. Fever was identified as most frequent in COVID-19 (74%), appearing at a higher rate in those cases than in influenza (68%) or the common cold (40%) (p < 0.05). In comparison to other viral diseases, sore throat was rarely reported in COVID-19 and SARS (12% and 18%, respectively) (p < 0.05). In influenza and common cold, a cough was identified in 93% and 80% of cases (p < 0.05). Headache, rhinorrhea, muscular pain, and sore throat were more common in influenza (91%, 91%, 94%, and 84%, respectively) and common cold (89%, 81%, 94%, and 84%, respectively) than in COVID-19 (21%, 4%, 29%, and 12%, respectively) and SARS (45%, 12%, 55%, and 18%, respectively) (p < 0.05).
The results of the analysis show that a greater number of general symptoms should lead to a diagnosis of influenza or common cold rather than COVID-19.