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Signs You've Already Had COVID, According to Doctors 

Were you sick and didn’t even know it? Read on for the signs.

One of the biggest issues in slowing the spread of COVID-19 is that the highly infectious virus can be very difficult to identify. Not only do infections range in severity, with some people remaining completely asymptomatic while others end up fighting for their lives on respirators, but symptoms differ from person-to-person. If you are wondering if you have already been infected with COVID-19 without even knowing it, you aren't alone. We asked a few of the top MDs in the country to share insight regarding some of the signs that could signify you've already had COVID. (Remember: if you've had it, you're not necessarily immune!) Read on, to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.


You Are Feeling Lingering Fatigue 

tired woman

If you have been feeling abnormally exhausted lately, it could be a sign you were previously infected with COVID-19. "A percentage of patients infected with COVID-19 are now reporting lingering symptoms, with the most common symptom being fatigue," Kathleen Jordan, MD, SVP of Medical Affairs at Tia and an infectious disease specialist, explains to Eat This, Not That! Health. "They likely incurred infection in the earlier months of 2020 when testing availability was sporadic and reserved for the most severely ill patients in many instances, so may not have had access to testing to confirm the acute diagnosis of COVID-19."


You Are Experiencing Shortness of Breath

Pretty brunette coughing on couch at home in the living-room.

Shortness of breath is one of the most common COVID symptoms. However, if you have been experiencing difficulty breathing for an extended period of time, Dr. Jordan points out that you could be a long hauler. "While there is no formal definition of a 'long hauler' it is a term usually referring to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or very likely to have been infected by it, and has not returned to their pre-COVID level of health after several months," she explains.


You Have a Chronic Cough

man face closeup with a sore throat, sick due to a virus, tired and overwhelmed

If your cough won't quit, it could be a sign you are suffering from long-term COVID, explains Dr. Jordan.

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You Feel Tightness in Your Chest

Young woman feeling sick and holding her chest in pain at home.

Tightness in your chest could be another sign you were previously infected with COVID, says Dr. Jordan.


Your Body Has Been Aching

Woman feeling neck ache, suffering from painful feeling in neck

Body aches are a common sign of an infection. However, if you are still experiencing them weeks after an illness it could signify a previous COVID infection, per Dr. Jordan. 


You Have Been Experiencing Diarrhea

woman hand flush toilet after using

Diarrhea could be a result of something you ate. However, it can also be a sign of a previous coronavirus infection, according to Dr. Jordan. 

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You Have Difficulty Concentrating 

man using smart phone and holding his head in pain at home

One of the most common signs of long-term COVID according to sufferers and Dr. Jordan, is a difficulty concentrating. 


You Test Positive for Antibodies 

Positive COVID-19 test and laboratory sample of blood testing for diagnosis new Corona virus infection

"Antibody tests can be helpful to look for laboratory evidence of infection and help decipher the etiology of these chronic symptoms," explains Dr. Jordan. However, there is a catch. "There are people with symptoms consistent with being a long hauler with no laboratory evidence of an antigen test, nor antibody evidence of past infection," she points out. 


If You Previously Suffered an Illness with the Following Symptoms 

Portrait of young woman smelling a fresh and sweet nectarine

Shirin Peters, MD, Founder of the Bethany Medical Clinic in New York, points out that if you have been sick in the last 11 months and experienced symptoms including fever and dry cough lasting about 1-2 weeks, diarrhea, headache, loss of smell or taste, shortness of breath at the same time and maybe longer, and/or fatigue at the same time and maybe longer, you may have been infected with COVID-19. 

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Remember, Even If You Had COVID, You Aren't Immune 

woman adjusting a trendy textile face mask behind her ear.

But keep in mind: even if you have already recovered from the virus, it isn't guaranteed that you won't catch it again. If you experience any of these conditions, it may or may not be COVID-19—contact a medical professional immediately. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss our special report: COVID Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah