Do you know runny nose occurs in only 5% of COVID-19 patients?

Do you know runny nose occurs in only 5% of COVID-19 patients?

Last Reviewed : 12/23/2020
Do you know runny nose occurs in only 5% of COVID-19 patients?

It is a common misconception that COVID-19 symptoms are similar to common cold. Runny nose or nasal congestion is very common with common cold. However, these symptoms are seen less commonly in persons with COVID-19 illness. Based on research studies published, only 5% of the individuals have nasal congestion. Nasal congestion is a major differentiating factor between common cold and Coronavirus infection. In fact, even regular flu has a higher percentage of individuals with runny nose and nasal congestion. Sneezing is common with common cold and flu. Sneezing is less common with COVID-19 infection.

Similarly, cough is mostly dry cough in COVID-19 affected individuals. Sputum production is seen in only one-third of the affected people. If the symptoms persist into second week, affected individuals develop shortness of breath and more serious illness like pneumonia or ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). Sputum production becomes more common during the second week of COVID-19 illness.



  • Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China. Wei-jie Guan et al. New England Journal of Medicine. February 28, 2020. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2002032
  • A review of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) based on current evidence. Wang LS et al. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2020 Mar 19:105948. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105948.
  • Clinical Features and Treatment of COVID-19 Patients in Northeast Chongqing. Wan S et al. J Med Virol. 2020 Mar 21. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25783

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