Coronavirus Second Wave: Symptoms To Watch Out For

By now, almost everyone knows about Coronavirus and the threat that it poses. The pandemic has been battering the world since 2020. One year later, as far as India is considered, the situation has only grown worse rather than showing any signs of improvement. In March 2021, about six months after the peak of the first wave in September 2020, the number of cases started rising sharply. Various mutations have taken place, resulting in stronger variants of the virus. The Coronavirus second wave symptoms have also changed. However, on the brighter side, vaccines are now available around the world, including in India.

The first wave of COVID-19 did plenty of damage. However, it seemed to come under control as strict lockdowns, and other safety measures were implemented. Just as the curve started to flatten, the second wave struck. The overconfidence and negligence of the people are likely the factors to blame. As the number of daily cases started falling, offices began working at full capacity. Large political and religious gatherings took place, essentially creating exactly the virus’s scenario that needs to spread fast.

Coronavirus wave 1 vs wave 2: what you should know

Both waves seem to affect elderly individuals more, with more than 70% of the COVID-19 patients aged above 40. There has been a marginal rise in the proportion of younger people affected. However, the second wave seems to spread much faster. The number of cases recorded daily is already more than twice compared that during the peak of the first wave.  The curvature in the increase in the number of cases is far steeper as well. There are differences in the Coronavirus symptoms day by day, too, due to mutations of the virus.

COVID-19 variant in India

Due to the widespread infection, the virus is mutating fast all over the globe. The mutations are causing it to develop new features, making it more deadly. First, it is necessary to understand how these mutations occur. In order to spread, the virus attaches itself to the cells of the patients and enters them. There, it starts to make copies of its RNA. In case there is an error in the copying process, a new variant arises. Mutations are quite common among viruses and can either weaken or strengthen them. Several Covid second-wave symptoms in India have emerged, too, showing that the mutations have given the virus new abilities.

Among the variants that have appeared in India, B.1.617 is particularly notable. According to the World Health Organization, this is a variant of concern. It has become dominant in several Indian states, including West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Delhi. Experts are associating this variant with the rapid spread of the disease. Because B.1.617 has surpassed B.1.618 variant in Bengal, it is easy to assume that B.1.617 spreads particularly fast. The B.1.617.2, a subtype of this variant has been identified as a variant of concern in the UK.

What are the symptoms of Corona second wave?

Most of the common symptoms of the Coronavirus disease that existed during the first wave are still prevalent. However, the mutations have turned the virus stronger, as a result of which it gives rise to various other symptoms too. The variants of the virus cause new symptoms and strengthen several of the ones that existed during the first wave.

New symptoms:

Previously, fever and cough were the most noticeable symptoms of Coronavirus infection. This has changed in the second wave, with the patients displaying a range of new symptoms. The new symptoms of covid-19 second wave include:

1) Body pain:

The virus now attacks the tissue linings and muscle fibers in the patients’ bodies, resulting in a condition known as myalgia. This causes severe pain in the muscles, joints, and the body in general.

2) Dry mouth:

The natural immune system does its best to protect the body. In a bid to keep the mouth safe from bad bacteria, it stops the production of saliva. This results in a dry mouth, making it difficult to talk or chew food.

3) Neurological symptoms:

As the virus attacks various systems in the body, it also causes certain neurological symptoms. These include nausea, dizziness, and malaise.

4) Fatigue:

Weakness and fatigue have become two of the common and early symptoms of COVID-19 infection. In many cases, patients start to display these symptoms even before diagnosis. While it is normal to feel tired, unexplained fatigue may be an indication of Coronavirus

5) Gastrointestinal tract infections:

One of the reasons that make the new variants of the virus harder to beat is that it attacks the gastrointestinal tract. The GI tract consists of key parts of the alimentary system, and a problem in this tract can deeply hamper the natural immunity of the body. The most noticeable symptoms of an infection in the GI tract are loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, and loose stools.

6) Conjunctivitis:

As the virus travels through respiratory droplets in the air, it can directly enter and infect the eyes. The new strains of the virus in India can cause conjunctivitis, a condition where the eyes become very sensitive to light. One of the factors that differentiate conjunctivitis caused by COVID from regular conjunctivitis is that it usually affects only an eye at a time.

7) Pink eye:

This is yet another ophthalmological problem that COVID-19 infection can cause. It causes the outer transparent membrane of the eyelid and the eyeball to swell up. The eyes become watery and puffy, along with an itchy feeling.

8) Acral rashes:

These are skin rashes formed on the hands or the feet. The immunological response of the body to the virus causes such rashes.

Other than these, the new variants are also causing the patients to lose their hearing ability. Such a barrage of symptoms makes the disease much more painful to bear and leads to other complications. Fever and cough remain a common symptoms of Coronavirus

Existing symptoms:

Several of the pre-existing symptoms of the virus have undergone further strengthening as a result of the mutations. This is one of the key reasons behind the virus becoming deadlier than before.

1) Oxygen deprivation:

By now, it has become a well-known fact that many COVID-19 deaths are a result of oxygen deprivation. In recent weeks, India faced an acute shortage of medical oxygen. This is essentially a result of the mutations as the situation started to emerge soon after the second wave struck.

Compared to the first wave, a much greater proportion of the patients are suffering from breathlessness. While about 41.5% of the patients needed supportive oxygen in the first wave, this percentage jumped to 54.5% in the second. The patients falling sick in the second wave show severe dips in the levels of oxygen saturation, especially during the first week of recovery and the onset of the infection.

Once the oxygen levels fall below 92%, patients require emergency care. Breathlessness, especially during the initial stages of infection, can cause lung damage.

2) Lung involvement:

So far, the Coronavirus has always shown a high tendency to affect the lungs. The risk of lung involvement has sharply risen with the emergence of new variants of the virus. Up to a fourth of the patients infected by Coronavirus are prone to problems in the lungs.

Damage and infection in the lungs lead to a variety of health complications. These include COVID pneumonia, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, persistent coughing, etc. The spike in the risk of lung involvement is particularly noticeable in the early stages of the infection.

If you or anyone in your family show these signs and symptoms of the Covid-19 second wave, do not panic. While it is pretty natural to feel panicky in such a scenario, panicked decisions may potentially worsen the situation. Try to contact a doctor and get yourself, or the patient tested immediately. If symptoms like extreme breathlessness, chest pain, blue-colored skin, etc. emerge, the patient would require immediate medical assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) What is a high temperature for COVID?

Although high body temperature is a common symptom of COVID, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is infected. Similarly, not all COVID patients show high temperatures. However, a temperature above 37.8 degrees Celsius is a potential symptom. The Coronavirus temperature range may vary from one person to another.

2) How long should I stay in isolation with COVID?

Generally, it is advisable to stay in isolation for two weeks after the onset of the disease. However, the person must not have suffered from fever or required medication to bring down fever within three days before ending the isolation.

3) How long should I stay in home isolation if I have the covid-19?

Home isolation is a viable option only in case of mild infection. In such a scenario, you may end the isolation in ten days. However, it is necessary to check with the doctor and consider your current condition. Because sometimes it might be necessary to stay in isolation for 14 days or even more.

4) How long are you contagious with Coronavirus?

Patients affected by the Coronavirus are most contagious right before and after the symptoms set in. The symptoms may take four to five days from the time of exposure to appear. Usually, it is safe to stay around people once again for 10 days since the onset of COVID-19 symptoms.

5) How long are you immune after Covid?

After contracting Covid-19, one becomes naturally immune to the virus due to the production of antibodies. On average, it is noted that the immunity is likely to last for at least 6-8 months.

6) How long are you a carrier of Covid?

There is a certain infectious period for viral infections during which the patient remains a carrier and can potentially transmit the disease to others. In the case of COVID-19, you are likely to become a carrier about one to three days before the symptoms show up and remain that way for another seven days. However, some patients remain infectious for a more extended period.

7) How long are you contagious with Covid before symptoms?

One of the factors that make COVID-19 so dangerous is that an infected person can become contagious during the incubation period before the symptoms appear. The chances are that you would become contagious about two to three days before the symptoms show up.

8) Can you have Coronavirus without a fever?

Although fever is a prevalent symptom of Coronavirus infection, you may not have it even if you are infected. As per a study, about 55.5% of the patients suffer from fever. You may even suffer from no symptoms at all but could still be affected by the virus – however, this is quite rare.

9) Can you have covid without a cough?

Similar to fever, a cough may or may not appear as a symptom of Coronavirus infection. According to studies, 60.4% of the patients suffer from dry or productive coughs. This is why it is necessary to watch out for the other symptoms too.

10) How quickly do Coronavirus symptoms appear?

The time that a viral infection requires for the symptoms to start appearing is known as its incubation period. For COVID-19 patients, this period lasts for five days on average, with most of them showing symptoms within 11.5 days. However, this aspect also differs from person to person.

Hence, the new variants have significantly complicated the situation. The virus is now capable of causing far more harm than before. Moreover, it spreads faster and is harder to treat. This makes it even more important to keep oneself safe. It is essential to wear a mask every time you head outdoors. Avoid going even close to any large gatherings and stay six feet away from a person who you suspect to be a COVID patient. Following these protocols, along with the various others that the government and the WHO have issued, would help to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Written by Bhargavi J