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Sure Signs You Have COVID Now, According to the Mayo Clinic

“Signs and symptoms...may appear two to 14 days after exposure,” reports the medical center.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Woman feeling bad and trying to sleep

With coronavirus cases setting worldwide records every day, you may be worried you've caught the potentially deadly virus. Fortunately, there are some clear indicators you may have COVID-19, so you can get help if it happens. "Signs and symptoms…may appear two to 14 days after exposure," reports the Mayo Clinic, the renowned nonprofit medical center. "If you develop symptoms…or you've been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, contact your doctor. Also let your doctor know if you've had close contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19….Common signs and symptoms can include" the following—read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


You May Feel a Fever

young woman sitting on a couch having a strong headache

Usually but not always, COVID is "associated with a fever," reports the Mayo Clinic of a most common presenting symptom. "Sometimes it's low-grade from 100.3 F to perhaps higher. Some people experience much higher fever that go up to 102 F or 103F. Individuals may experience some shortness of breath."


You May Suffer a Cough


Patients "may experience a cough. And it can either be a dry cough, or they may cough up phlegm," says Dr. Clayton Cowl, chair of Mayo Clinic's Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine. If you have one, stay away from others. "Risk factors for COVID-19 appear to include close contact (within 6 feet, or 2 meters) with someone who has COVID-19," says the Mayo Clinic, and "being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person." 


You May Experience Tiredness

Woman suffering from cold, virus lying on the sofa under the blanket

Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn, an occupational medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic, has said this fatigue can last for months for "long haulers," those with Post-COVID syndrome. "It's not just like any fatigue, like the fatigue we get from a bad night of sleep but rather profound fatigue." He explained, "Patients will say that doing something as simple as taking a dog for a walk, going up a flight of steps in their home, can often result in them needing to take a nap or a rest for several hours afterwards."


Early Symptoms of COVID-19 May Include a Loss of Taste or Smell

Woman smelling flower.

"COVID-19 might cause a new loss of smell or taste — without nasal congestion. This typically lasts nine to 14 days," says the Clinic. "Some research suggests that loss of smell or taste might be an early predictor of COVID-19."


You May Have Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing

shortness of breath

"Few sensations are as frightening as not being able to get enough air. Shortness of breath — known medically as dyspnea — is often described as an intense tightening in the chest, air hunger, difficulty breathing, breathlessness or a feeling of suffocation," reports the Clinic. "If you have unexplained shortness of breath, especially if it comes on suddenly and is severe, see your doctor as soon as possible."


You May Have Muscle Aches

Woman is touching her stiff shoulder.

"Symptoms of COVID-19 are typically myalgia, or muscle aches, and a lot of fatigue," says Dr. Cowl.

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You May Get Chills

woman covered by a blanket on the sofa with high fever and flu

COVID "can cause a wide range of signs and symptoms," reports the Mayo Clinic. "The most common are fever, dry cough and tiredness. Other symptoms include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle aches, chills, sore throat, headache, or chest pain."


You May Have a Sore Throat

woman experiencing strong throat ache

"A sore throat is pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that often worsens when you swallow. The most common cause of a sore throat (pharyngitis) is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu," reports the Clinic.


You May Get a Runny Nose

RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get

"Interestingly, unlike many other respiratory viruses, only a minority of patients have been reporting upper respiratory symptoms like runny nose or sore throat, although some people have reported those," Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist, said early on during the pandemic.


You May Have a Headache

Stressed unhappy woman touching forehead, suffering from strong headache or chronic migraine

"Headache is"—well, a, "pain in any region of the head. Headaches may occur on one or both sides of the head, be isolated to a certain location, radiate across the head from one point, or have a viselike quality. A headache may appear as a sharp pain, a throbbing sensation or a dull ache," says the Clinic.


You May Feel Chest Pain

woman suffering from chest pain while sitting at home

Regarding COVID-19 symptoms, "the classic ones you'll hear about are fever and any kind of respiratory symptoms, like shortness of breath or cough, or anything that involves the lungs," says Dr. Stacey Rizza, a Mayo Clinic infectious disease specialist and researcher. "We also know that people are likely to express these receptors the virus needs to infect cells in the mouth, in the throat, and in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract. We have seen people get sore throat, some kinds of GI upset and sometimes diarrhea. We also know these receptors are expressed on the heart, and sometimes people get inflammation of the heart tissue itself and some chest pains. We've even had some people present with what they thought was a heart attack, and in fact, it was inflammation the heart tissue that was caused by the virus itself."


You May Get Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

Says the Mayo Clinic: "COVID-19 might cause eye problems such as enlarged, red blood vessels, swollen eyelids, excessive watering and increased discharge. The infection also might cause light sensitivity and irritation. These symptoms are more common in people with severe infections."

RELATED: 7 Side Effects of Wearing a Face Mask


Other COVID-19 Symptoms Reported by the Mayo Clinic

Uncomfortable young woman scratching her arm while sitting on the sofa at home.

"This list is not all inclusive," warns the Clinic. "Other less common symptoms have been reported, such as rash, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Children have similar symptoms to adults and generally have mild illness. The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. Some people may have only a few symptoms, and some people may have no symptoms at all. Some people may experience worsened symptoms, such as worsened shortness of breath and pneumonia, about a week after symptoms start."


How to Avoid COVID-19 in the First Place

Woman putting on a protective mask

If you experience any of these symptoms, hunker down and contact a medical professional, and otherwise follow the fundamentals to help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene and to protect your life and the lives of others, and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.