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Case Series of Headache Characteristics in COVID‐19: Headache Can Be an Isolated Symptom

  • Toptan, Tuğçe1
  • Aktan, Çile1
  • Başarı, Ahmet1
  • Bolay, Hayrunnisa1
  • 1 Gazi University Hospital, Turkey , (Turkey)
Published Article
Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Aug 17, 2020
DOI: 10.1111/head.13940
PMID: 32790216
PMCID: PMC7436308
PubMed Central
External links


Headache was reported in up to one‐third of the hospitalized patients; yet, the clinical characteristics of headache associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) have not been defined. This observational case study included patients who were consulted to headache unit due to headache and had COVID‐19 illness. Headache features in 13 PCR‐confirmed COVID‐19 patients with mild symptoms were reported. Headache was the isolated symptom of the COVID‐19 in 3 patients and emerged as an early symptom during the disease course in all patients. Patients specified severe, rapid onset, unrelenting headache with migraine‐like features, as well as unusual sensory symptoms such as anosmia, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and loss of appetite and weight. Headache lasted up to 3 days in 70% of the patients and resolved in all patients within 2 weeks. Despite the fact that most of the patients were female and headache characteristics were suggestive of migraine, majority of patients were not suffering from primary headaches. It was concluded that headache could be an isolated symptom of COVID‐19, which might possibly be ignored in asymptomatic patients. Headaches associated with COVID‐19 included features resembling migraine and/or atypical symptoms including anosmia and diarrhea.

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