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Headache is a pain in any region of the head. Headaches may occur on one or both sides of the head, be isolated to a certain location, radiate across the head from one point, or have a viselike quality.

Headache disorders are among the most common disorders of the nervous system.

Globally, it has been estimated that prevalence among adults of current headache disorder (symptomatic at least once within the last year) is about 50%. Half to three-quarters of adults aged 18–65 years in the world have had a headache in the last year

Headache has been underestimated, under-recognized, and under-treated throughout the world.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect your lungs. It’s caused by the novel coronavirus that’s known in clinical terms as SARS-CoV-2. The first reported case happened in Wuhan on December 1, 2019. At present, at least 1.8 million people are infected around the world and almost 110,000 people have died.

Several symptoms of COVID-19 have been identified. One of these symptoms is a headache. The other symptoms include loss of taste and smell.

Duration of headache in covid-19:

The headache will be your first symptom of covid-19. It will not persist longer commonly. It persists 3-5 days commonly.

How common is a headache in COVID-19?

Headache is a very common symptom in patients having covid-19. different researches are conducted on the persistence of headache in covid-19. (https://daradia.com/headache-in-covid/)

A study was conducted “Headaches During COVID‐19: My Clinical Case and Review of the Literature” with more than 41000 covid-19 patients and the headache was found in 8-12% of patients(Belvis and Pain 2020)

Reason for Headache in Covid-19:

Headache is very much common all over the world even without covid-19. The exact mechanism of headache in covid-19 is unknown. But different researchers and health care professionals connect headache with covid-19 in different ways.

They think it may be due to cytokines, lung infection, or runny nose. Some coronaviruses were shown to be neurotropic and former SARS-CoV has been observed in the human brain [19, 20]. Therefore, it is highly likely that SARS-CoV-2 may also enter the nervous system via the cranial nerves.

The intensity of headache is more during anosmia which is a lack of sense of smell. Headache in relation to a systemic viral infection, (without signs of meningoencephalitis) is described in the International Classification of Headache Disorders-3.

How to tell if your headache is due to COVID-19 or something else?

Headaches are a common health-related complaint. Because of this, you may be wondering how you can tell if a headache is due to COVID-19 or not.

Currently, the exact characteristics of a COVID-19 headache are poorly defined. This can make a COVID-19 headache difficult to differentiate from other types of headaches.

Reports Trusted Source has described the following characteristics of a COVID-19 headache:

  • is moderate to severe in intensity
  • causes a pulsing or pressing sensation
  • occurs on both sides of your head (bilateral)
  • may get worse when you bend over

What type of headache does the covid-19 patient feel?

Mostly headaches persist only for 3-5 days. But in few patients, it persists for a longer period even after recovery from covid-19. Sometimes severe headache lasts for few days in some patients but in others, it can last for few months.

The headache during covid-19 is mostly full head pressure-like pain. Sometimes they also feel migraines but full head pain is more common.

Other common symptoms during Covid-19 infection:

Basically, symptoms of covid-19 vary from patient to patient. It is a new virus and researchers don’t know much more about this virus. (https://daradia.com/pain-management-in-covid/)

Firstly, it can show the effect on the lungs, so the patient will feel shortness of breath. This symptom comes after a couple of days of disease.

These include:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • body aches and pain
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • digestive symptoms, like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • loss of taste or smell

If you some serious symptoms then contact your doctor and visit emergency.

What should I do if I have a headache and think it might be COVID-19?

If you have a headache, it could be COVID-19, especially if you have lost your sense of smell and feel very tired.

You are suspected that you have covid-19 then firstly isolate yourself in your home or somewhere else to protect others.

Now take complete rest in a dark room without any noise.

Don’t panic if you have a headache because it’s common during covid-19 infection.

Avoid watching T.V, Mobile, LED, etc., or other gadgets for a longer period.

Take fresh vegetables, fruits, and other healthy products especially products that have vitamin c.

If you feel severe pain in your head or other neurological problem like numbness, dizziness, visual disorder then contacts with your doctor.

Treatment strategies:

Use over-the-counter (OTC) medications

Taking an OTC pain medication like paracetamol (Panadol) acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, or ibuprofen (Advil) may help to relieve pain and reduce fever.

Apply a cool compress

Using a cool compress on your forehead may help with headache relief. It can also help you stay cool if you have a fever.

Try a gentle massage

Gently massaging around your forehead or temples during a headache may help ease your symptoms.

When to seek medical care

While most cases of COVID-19 are mild, in some people the disease can progress to a much more severe illness. This typically happens 5 to 8 days Trusted Source after symptoms first appear.

There are several symptoms that are warning signs of severe COVID-19 illness. If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, seek emergency medical attention:

  • difficulty breathing
  • pain or pressure in your chest
  • lips, face, or nails that appear blue in color
  • confusion
  • trouble staying awake or difficulty waking

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