Srinagar, Dec 27: While temperature measurements are widely used for screening Covid-19 patients at the entrances of many office buildings or malls, a new study suggests that a huge spike in resting heart rate is a more sensitive indicator of the disease.
Physiological data from commercial wearables showed increased resting heart rate around symptoms onset date that was more severe for Covid-19, but present in milder form for flu as well, said the study published in the journal Patterns.
It’s surprising to see that many screening tests at building entrances are all temperature-based since a lot of people don’t develop a fever right away and there are so many things that cause fever other than COVID-19,’ said senior author Luca Foschini, Co-founder of US-based health and measurement company Evidation Health.
Covid-19: Huge spike in resting heart rate can be concerning
‘A huge spike in resting heart rate is a more sensitive indicator of Covid. And for people with activity trackers, you could ask them permission to share that information for screening purposes, just like taking a temperature reading.’
By analyzing Fitbit data and self-reported symptoms, the researchers analyzed trends in heart rate, step count, and symptom duration between patients with flu and those with Covid-19.
While both showed similar-looking spikes in resting heart rate and decreases in average step count, Covid-19 symptoms lasted longer and peaked later, said the study.
The findings confirmed that certain other symptoms are characteristic of Covid but not flu, like shortness of breath and coughing.
They also examined the impact of each illness on decreasing daily step count, finding that the impacts lasted much longer for Covid than for flu.
‘We used step count to measure the change in mobility because you don’t move as much when you’re sick,’ said Foschini.
‘Compared to their baseline, the number of steps didn’t go back to normal for people with COVID, even after three or four weeks.’
While data from wearables such as Fitbit can reveal a lot about these respiratory illnesses, the researchers said that it should be used as a general screening method, not a complete diagnostic tool.
What are the common symptoms?
Doctors and scientists are learning new things about this virus every day. So far, we know that COVID-19 may not cause any symptoms for some people.
You may carry the virus for 2 days or up to 2 weeks before you notice symptoms.
Some common symptoms that have been specifically linked to COVID-19 include:
-Shortness of breath
-A cough that gets more severe over time
-A low-grade fever that gradually increases in temperature
Less common symptoms include:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches and pains
- Loss of taste or smell
- A stuffy or runny nose
- Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
- Discoloration of fingers or toes
However, individuals with COVID-19 may have some, all, or none of the above symptoms.
These symptoms may become more severe in some people. Call emergency medical services if you have or someone you care for has any of the following symptoms:
- Trouble breathing
- Blue lips or a blue face
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Excessive drowsiness
(With inputs from IANS)