Coronavirus warning: How to tell if it’s not Parkinson’s – key signs you have the virus

Coronavirus is an infectious disease that has been confirmed in more than three million people across the world. Some of the warning signs of coronavirus could be mistaken for Parkinson’s disease. Here’s how to tell the difference.

Cases are continuing to rise in the UK, and the government has urged the public to stay at home, to avoid becoming infected or spreading the virus further.

People have been advised to remain indoors, as more than 160,000 UK individuals have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Some of the most common warning signs of coronavirus include a high fever, and a new, continuous cough.

The virus could also lead to a shortness of breath in some patients, as well as diarrhoea and headaches.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that global health systems could become overwhelmed by the infectious nature of the virus.

It urged health services to continue during the unprecedented global crisis, as people still need life-saving treatment.

More than 26,000 people in the UK have now died from the coronavirus, but how can you tell the difference between the symptoms of COVID-19 and Parkinson’s disease?

The two conditions have some similar early signs, including a reduced sense of smell.

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Coronavirus symptoms

Most common:


Dry cough

Shortness of breath

Aching muscles


Less common:

Loss of smell

Phlegm build-up





Runny nose

Sore throat


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How is coronavirus different to Parkinson’s disease?

There are similarities between the coronavirus and Parkinson’s, in terms of their symptoms.

A complete loss of smell has been linked to the novel COVID-19 virus, which is also a sign of Parkinson’s.

Doctor 4 U GP, Dr Diana Gall told Express Health: “Loss of smell [anosmia] and loss of taste [ageusia] have been proven as being early symptoms for infected adults.

“This will usually develop suddenly regardless of fever or any cough.

“More and more doctors who are treating COVID-19 are confirming this to be a symptom.”


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A reduced sense of smell is a symptom in nearly all Parkinson’s patients, according to charity the Parkinson’s Foundation.

But, Parkinson’s patients are unlikely to completely lose their smell, and they may still be able to differentiate between more potent smells.

Coronavirus patients appear to be more likely to develop anosmia – the complete loss of smell – albeit only temporarily.

You’re also more likely to have coronavirus if your loss of smell is accompanied by the more common warning signs of the infection.

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