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20 Strangest Symptoms Coronavirus Patients Say They've Had

Ever since COVID-19 took over our lives, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been hard at work identifying common symptoms, including fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. However, many who were diagnosed with coronavirus have complained of unusual symptoms not mentioned by the CDC. A survey conducted by Dr. Natalie Lambert of Indiana University School of Medicine and Survivor Corps analyzed the long-term experiences COVID-19 survivors are having with the virus. The COVID-19 'Long Hauler' Symptoms Survey Report identified 98 long-lasting symptoms. Check out 20 of the most bizarre symptoms COVID-19 sufferers experienced during the virus and as they continue to recover—ranked from least frequently reported to most frequently reported. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss all 98 Symptoms Coronavirus Patients Say They've Had.


Hormone Imbalances

woman disappointed after checking weight

44 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

Since it's commonly known as a respiratory virus, blaming hormone imbalances on COVID-19 may seem far-fetched. But some coronavirus patients reported experiencing hormone imbalances as a result of COVID-19. According to Northwell Health, hormone imbalances can cause fatigue, weight gain, cold hands and feet, pelvic pain, and other symptoms. Patients dealing with hormone imbalances as a long-term symptom may need to see their doctors to be put on synthetic hormones or another form of treatment.


Dry Scalp or Dandruff

Woman touches her hair in front of the mirror

52 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

According to the Mayo Clinic, you'll know you have dandruff or a dry scalp if it's itchy and you see small skin flakes manifesting in your hair, beard, or eyebrows. The flakes you brush from your shoulders may be due to stress, irritated skin, or they could be a reaction to a cold, dry environment. Illnesses that affect the nervous system may cause dandruff, which may explain why COVID-19 patients reported this as a lasting symptom.


Cracked or Dry Lips

woman with dry mouth

73 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

Like other illnesses, COVID-19 causes dehydration. Your body is working hard to combat the virus and it needs to be well hydrated during this fight. Cracked or dry lips may be a sign that you're not drinking the fluids your body needs. 

According to Dr. Beth Ann Callihan Ricci, D.O., with mild dehydration, you could experience "thirst, dry lips, dry mouth, flushed skin, fatigue, irritability, headache, darker urine, decreased urine output, and muscle weakness." COVID-19 sufferers may have reported this as a long-lasting symptom due to dehydration. As they recover from the virus, patients should keep hydrated to avoid cracked or dry lips and ensure their body has its defenses up and ready.


Burning Sensations

Acute pain in a women wrist

83 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

A study published in Annal of Neurology analyzed the symptoms of 214 COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, China and reported potential negative effects on the nervous system. These negative effects may explain why burning sensations are a long-lasting symptom for some patients. According to the Brain and Spine Foundation, neuropathic pain, which is caused by damages to the nervous system, is also frequently described as "burning sensations."


Abnormally Low Temperature

The surprised girl holds a thermometer in her hands.

91 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

The CDC lists a fever as a common symptom of COVID-19 so it's puzzling that several patients reported experiencing an abnormally low temperature. A temporarily low body temperature may occur when your body attempts to bounce back from a fever. Since COVID-19 may have negative effects on some patients' nervous systems, it could explain why some patients report an abnormally low body temperature as a long-lasting symptom.


Bulging Veins

Thigh pain or muscle twitching or muscle cramp.

95 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

Among other symptoms, some COVID-19 patients have noticed bulging veins. Your veins carry the blood throughout your body and sometimes you can see this network of veins through your skin. However, some patients reported newly bulging veins after being diagnosed with the virus.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, in addition to respiratory problems, COVID-19 may cause thrombosis, blood clotting, and damage to blood vessels. Blood vessel damage may be what causes the long-lasting symptom of bulging veins in some coronavirus patients.


Mouth Sores or Sore Tongue

Woman with aphthae on lip.

162 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

The sores in the mouth or on the tongue reported by some COVID-19 patients may be canker sores. According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, canker sores are small, round, and usually white or yellow sores that "usually affect the softer parts of the mouth that move, such as the tongue, soft palate, cheeks, and lips."

While the specific reason canker sores develop is usually unknown, they're "thought to be caused by an immune system malfunction that causes white blood cells to temporarily attack the mucosal cells lining the mouth." Coronavirus patients' immune systems are in overdrive fighting the virus and if they go a little haywire while in the thick of the fight, it may explain why canker sores develop.


Dry or Peeling Skin

Woman scratching arm indoors

179 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

Dry skin may be a sign of dehydration, which is a common occurrence with COVID-19 and other illnesses. According to Dr. Michele Farber from Schweiger Dermatology Group, dry or peeling skin is common when you have a cold, flu, or virus. 

Dr. Farber says, "Your skin gets dry and irritated, your eyes start to look puffy, and it's an open invitation for cold sores and other skin issues." Coronavirus patients that experience dry or peeling skin may get some relief by using a humidifier, staying hydrated, and using soothing skincare products.


Feeling Irritable

Irritated man crossing legs while sitting on the bed and shouting at home

197 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

It's tough to stay pleasant and happy when you're not feeling well. This may be why many COVID-19 patients reported irritability as a long-lasting symptom of the virus. Self-quarantining and staying away from loved ones or a complete upset of a daily routine may also be to blame for this lingering symptom.

According to information published in Globalization and Health, "Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 affects mental health outcomes such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms." After recovery, healthy behaviors, such as engaging with friends and family and exercising, may help combat the irritability that some COVID-19 patients experience. 


Changed Sense of Taste

girl with a spoon near a mouth

221 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

One of the most bizarre yet common symptoms of COVID-19 is a loss of sense of taste and smell. However, some coronavirus patients reported a complete change in their sense of taste after recovering from the virus, called dysgeusia. 

According to a research letter published in JAMA Network, "Alterations in smell or taste were frequently reported by mildly symptomatic patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection and often were the first apparent symptom." After losing sense of taste, COVID-19 patients may gain this sense back but it could be altered.


Constant Thirst

man drinking water

246 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

A virus, cold, or flu causes the immune system to ramp up and may cause fever, sweating, and an increase in metabolism. These symptoms may also lead to dehydration, which could be why several COVID-19 patients reported constant thirst as a long-lasting symptom.

According to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, when you lose only 2% of your body weight from lack of fluids, you may begin to experience negative side effects on your "cardiovascular, thermoregulatory, metabolic, and central nervous function that become increasingly greater as dehydration worsens." While constant thirst is an annoying symptom of coronavirus, it's important for patients to listen to their bodies and stay hydrated when recovering.


Floaters or Flashes of Light in Vision

Eye Floaters Myodesopsia, Blue Sky

249 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

A study published in JAMA Ophthalmology analyzed 38 COVID-19 patients in Wuhan and found that "one-third of patients with COVID-19 had ocular abnormalities, which frequently occurred in patients with more severe COVID-19." 

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, "floaters" are small specks or clouds that move into your line of vision temporarily. They're caused when fluid or gel in the vitreous clump together inside your eye and may be caused by a dry or inflamed eye. Since COVID-19 may reportedly cause dry eyes for many patients, this could explain why many claim floaters as a long-lasting symptom. 


Upper Back Pain

back view of man sitting on bed and suffering from back pain

253 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain can be caused by a number of things, including "arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress." It can also be caused by a lack of activity, which is likely to occur when coronavirus patients are resting and attempting to recover from the virus. 

Inactivity for days or weeks and poor posture while sitting in bed nursing these symptoms may contribute to upper back pain in COVID-19 patients. It may also be a sign of kidney or spinal cord issues so upper back pain sufferers should consider visiting a doctor if this symptom lasts.


Phlegm in Back of Throat


361 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

COVID-19 is commonly associated with a dry cough but many patients reported phlegm in the back of their throat as a lingering symptom. When your body produces extra mucus, it can feel like a nuisance because it makes you cough and blow your nose constantly. 

According to Dr. Richard Boucher, MD, from the UNC Marsico Lung Institute/UNC Cystic Fibrosis Center, mucus is "designed to both keep body surfaces moist and healthy and to trap foreign materials like infectious agents." Phlegm in the back of the throat may be a frustrating long-term COVID-19 symptom but it's just the body attempting to get rid of the virus.



woman sitting on couch in living room at home with closed eyes, holding head with hand, suffering from strong sudden headache or migraine, throbbing pain

413 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

Some recovered COVID-19 patients report sadness as a lasting symptom. It may not all be attributed to the mental effects of quarantining and social isolation. 

According to a report published in CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics, "The brain has been reported to express ACE2 receptors that have been detected over glial cells and neurons, which makes them a potential target of COVID-19." Coronavirus patients dealing with sadness in the aftermath of the virus may be experiencing side effects from neurological disruptions caused by COVID-19.


Hair Loss

losing hair

423 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

COVID-19 is stressful on the body and mind and hair loss is often attributed to dealing with a stressful event. Recovered coronavirus patients experiencing excessive hair loss may be suffering from telogen effluvium, which is hair loss due to a physiologically or physically stressful event. 

According to Harvard Health, with telogen effluvium, "about 30% of the hairs stop growing and go into the resting phase before falling out." Proper nutrition and hair vitamin supplements may help these recovering patients stop this excessive hair loss.


Night Sweats

Sleep disorder, insomnia. Young blonde woman lying on the bed awake

475 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

Coronavirus commonly causes a fever, which may be an explanation for the night sweats many recovering patients report as a long-lasting symptom. The body attempts to re-adjust it's temperature, which may cause sweating at night. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, excessive night sweats "may indicate a side effect of a medication, such as antidepressants or hormone therapy, or the existence of an underlying illness." They may also be related to infection or another health condition, such as a nervous system disorder. COVID-19 patients who can't kick severe night sweats should visit their doctor to rule out other medical conditions.


Joint Pain

joint pain

566 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

COVID-19 patients who reported joint pain as a long-lasting symptom may be dealing with a lingering immune response to the virus. According to an article published in Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, "Virus infections induce a proinflammatory response including expression of cytokines and chemokines." The immune system produces cytokines and chemokines to reduce viral replication and limit the spread of the virus. 

While they're meant to help the body, the increase in cytokines and chemokines can cause muscle, body, and joint pain. This may explain why some coronavirus patients are dealing with joint pain long after kicking the virus.




746 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

The uncertainty of a pandemic and social distancing guidelines are enough to make anyone feel anxious over the past few months. According to the Cleveland Clinic, "It's widely recognized that patients with COVID-19 may suffer from anxiety, mood dysregulation, anger and worsening of any preexisting mental illnesses."

Many COVID-19 patients reported experiencing anxiety as a long-lasting symptom of the virus, which may be a normal side effect to contracting a scary and unpredictable illness. 


Difficulty Concentrating or Focusing

Moody aged man feeling unhappy.

924 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

According to a study published in Critical Care, COVID-19 patients dealing with severe cases are at a higher risk for dealing with delirium, confusion, or hallucinations. Many COVID-19 patients have reported more mild long-lasting symptoms, including difficulty concentrating or focusing. 

These symptoms may be attributed to their bodies still working hard to recover from the virus or to their change in routine. According to the Mayo Clinic, to combat this inability to focus, it's important to take time to relax, set up a routine, and get plenty of sleep.  And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

Kelly Hernandez
Kelly Hernandez is a health and wellness writer and certified personal trainer. Read more about Kelly
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