What coronavirus cough actually sounds like – audio of dry COVID19 cough symptom

Hundreds of thousands of people across the UK will be feeling worried about the spread of coronavirus, which has killed more than 8,200 people around the world.

The respiratory condition presents with two key symptoms – a cough and a fever – but as it has broken out in the middle of the normal winter cold and flu season, it can be tricky to work out if you've got COVID-19 – or just a run-of-the-mill bug.

Luckily Radio 2 stepped in today to share audio clips of what the telltale dry cough actually sounds like, and what you should be doing next.

After taking a call from a listener who was coughing badly, host Jeremy Vine said: "BBC's Laura Foster has recorded a really useful description of the two main symptoms of the coronavirus."


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Laura then revealed: "The two main symptoms of coronavirus to look out for are a continuous dry cough and/or a fever.

"If you're sneezing a lot, got a runny nose or a headache, you may be ill, but you've probably not got coronavirus.

"So how high a fever is a coronavirus one? And what exactly is a continuous dry cough?

"Well, it's when you cough and there's no mucous or phlegm. There's basically no gooey substance in your tissue. And this is not the odd cough here or there. It has to be coughing regularly for no other reason, such as clearing your throat or smoking."

She went on: "So how high a fever is a coronavirus fever? Well if you have one, you will know about it. Technically it's a body temperature of more than 37.8 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you've not got a thermometer, basically you will feel hot, and your chest and back would be hot if someone touched you."

Laura added: "If you have either of these symptoms, then you and everyone you live with needs to stay at home for two weeks. If you live by yourself, it's only one. But if your symptoms get worse or they don't go away, if you live in the UK then you need to contact the online NHS 111 coronavirus service. If you live abroad then call your local healthcare provider.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP who regularly appears on Radio 2 and ITV daytime shows to share her expertise, then picked up on a couple of small points from Laura's segment.

"I'm just going to go back to that briefing there, which was wrong slightly in two respects. The first thing is if you have that cough, if you develop symptoms and you live with someone else, you need to self-isolate for seven days, and if after seven days you feel fine again, as long as your temperature is settled and you feel well in yourself, you can actually leave the house after seven days but everyone else you live with needs to stay in for 14 [days]," she pointed out.

"And that's because we're looking at what we call incubation versus infectious period. So anyone else who comes into contact with you as soon as you start getting the cough, we need to talk about them probably incubating from then. And that means they have to add in a median – an average – of five days, up to possibly 11 days onto the time after they develop symptoms, so that would be 14 days in order to be sure that they don't develop symptoms.

"If they then develop symptoms then they would need themselves to self-isolate for another seven days, and the cycle starts again.

"So if you're living with someone else, you need to self-isolate for seven days [if you have symptoms], everyone else for 14 days, that's the first thing."

Dr Sarah continued: "The second thing is that it said in that broadcast, if you've got a sore throat, a tickly cough or a headache, you may be unwell but it's probably not coronavirus. It's much less likely to be coronavirus and we don't recommend you self-isolate, but one thing I would say really strictly, even if you don't have that classic fever or cough, please do not if you have any of those symptoms go near somebody who is elderly or vulnerable. Because there is a very, very small chance that it could be coronavirus, you don't even want to take a very small chance with someone else's health."

*The Jeremy Vine Show airs weekdays from 12-2pm on Radio 2.

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