HEADACHES are the most common coronavirus symptom in patients who test positive for the bug, a new study has found.
Experts say 62 per cent of people who experienced any Covid-19 symptoms reported having a sore head.
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The research, by Imperial College London, also found that loss of taste or smell were each more common than a persistent cough.
Scientists also discovered that just three in 10 people who test positive for coronavirus show any symptoms at all.
The findings are based on data from 120,000 volunteers aged over five across the UK in May.
A blocked nose was the second most commons symptom – affecting just over half of those who reported any symptoms in the week before testing positive for Covid.
Meanwhile, exactly one third of those who experienced symptoms had diarrhoea.
As for the symptoms on the NHS's official coronavirus list, one in five of those who reported symptoms had a fever while 23 per cent had a new, persistent cough.
While a loss of smell and taste affected 30 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.
It comes as experts at King's College London called for skin rashes to be added to the official list of symptoms.
In a separate large community-based study, conducted with Zoe Global Ltd, they found 8.8 per cent of people who had tested positive for Covid had also reported having a skin rash.
Mario Falchi, who led the team, said that while skin rashes are far less common than a fever, they are much more specific and last longer.
His team said that while coronavirus is primarily a respiratory illness, it also targets multiple organs – including the skin – and urged people to be on the look out for itchy hands and feet.
The Imperial report provides insight into infections between May 1 and June 1, comparing geography, age, sex, ethnicity, key worker status and symptoms.
Beyond the diminished rate of infection, the research found young adults aged 18 to 24 were more likely to test positive than other age groups.
It also showed there were on average 13 positive cases for every 10,000 people, with an overall reproduction number of 0.57 – lower than previously reported.
People of Asian ethnicity were also more likely to test positive than those of white ethnicity, while people working in care homes were at greater risk of being infected during lockdown than the general population.
The report also showed anyone who had recent contact with a known Covid-19 case was 24 times more likely to test positive than those with no such contact, emphasising the importance of contact tracing in keeping the spread of the virus under control.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the study is crucial to the country's ongoing battle with coronavirus.
"This ambitious testing programme will help us better understand the spread of the virus to date, predict how it may spread in the future and inform our response to the pandemic," he said.
"It shows the impact our national lockdown efforts have had and demonstrates that we have taken the right actions at the right time.
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"As a country we have made great strides towards beating this virus but we mustn't take our foot off the pedal, and such studies will be vital as we continue to fight this virus."
The study, which has been upscaled and repeated for June, will now undergo peer review before a final report is published.
Plans are currently underway for a second large-scale study, which will use antibody tests to determine how much of the general public has been infected with Covid-19 in the past.
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