If you have COVID-19, this is the first symptom you will get

COVID-19 symptoms tend to appear in a specific order, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Southern California released a new study, published in the journal Frontier Public Health, which road mapped the usual order in which symptoms of the coronavirus appear.

While the core symptoms of the coronavirus are cough, shortness of breath, and fever, the order in which they appear can help with earlier detection and possibly help treat patients faster. The study found that fever occurs first, followed by cough and muscle pain. Other symptoms like nausea and vomiting occur after, followed by diarrhea.

“This order is especially important to know when we have overlapping cycles of illnesses like the flu that coincide with infections of COVID-19,” said USC professor Peter Kuhn in a press release. “Doctors can determine what steps to take to care for the patient, and they may prevent the patient’s condition from worsening.”

Researchers examined more than 55,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in China through data compiled by the World Health Organization. They also looked at nearly 2,500 cases scattered across the world where they cross-examined symptoms reported for influenza from 1994 to 1998.

Joseph Larsen, one of the study’s authors, said that the study’s findings are important.

“The order of the symptoms matter. Knowing that each illness progresses differently means that doctors can identify sooner whether someone likely has COVID-19, or another illness, which can help them make better treatment decisions,” Larsen said.