15 Coronavirus Symptoms You've Never Heard Of
None other than Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, has said he's "never seen a single virus" like COVID-19. One reason is that its symptoms take on so many forms: the ones you've heard of (fever, dry cough, loss of taste and smell) but also more unusual ones that are presenting themselves to doctors every day. Read on to discover 15 you should know about—or even better, don't miss this essential list of the Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
"Syncope (SINK-a-pee) is another word for fainting or passing out," reports Johns Hopkins. "Someone is considered to have syncope if they become unconscious and go limp, then soon recover." "Further studies with larger sample size are necessary before drawing definite conclusions on the mechanism of syncope as the presenting symptom of COVID-19 infection," reports one study. "However, recognizing this possibility is of extreme importance."
Sensitivity to Light
"COVID-19 might cause eye problems such as enlarged, red blood vessels, swollen eyelids, excessive watering and increased discharge," reports the Mayo Clinic. "The infection also might cause light sensitivity and irritation. These symptoms are more common in people with severe infections."
"Five months after contracting COVID-19 and recovering from the infection, Shannon Thomas is still coping with the lingering health issues from the novel virus. Fatigue, headaches, nausea and thrush and ulcers in her mouth"—also known as thrush—"are what she's dealing with now," reports Town Talk. "I have good days and bad days where I'm really just fatigued," said Thomas, a yoga instructor and massage therapist.
"A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system — your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra," reports the Mayo Clinic. "We found a potentially dangerous overlap of classical urinary symptoms and the as yet not fully described symptoms of COVID-19," reports one study.
98 people surveyed in the COVID-19 'Long Hauler' Symptoms Survey Report said they had this symptom, which can scarily resemble a heart attack in feeling. "Costochondritis (kos-toe-kon-DRY-tis) is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum),' reports the Mayo Clinic. "Sometimes, swelling accompanies the pain (Tietze syndrome)."
Tinnitus and vertigo may be caused by coronavirus. "Researchers are looking into a possible connection between COVID-19 and hearing loss," reports AARP. "Several reports document patients who have experienced hearing problems that coincide with a COVID-19 diagnosis. Often these issues — which include tinnitus, or ringing in the ears — persist even after other symptoms of the illness subside."
"Although difficulty breathing is an official symptom of COVID-19, many patients show exceedingly low blood oxygen levels without the accompanying breathlessness. Scientists are investigating why COVID-19 causes this unusual form of hypoxia," reports the Scientist.
An Inflamed Brain
"Reports have also linked COVID-19 to patients suffering from encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, as well as a much rarer syndrome called Guillain–Barré, in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves," reports National Geographic. "In milder cases, encephalitis can cause flu-like symptoms; in more severe cases, it might bring seizures, paralysis, and confusion."
Mysterious Blood Clots
"Doctors are puzzled by the extent of blood clotting caused by COVID-19. In late April, the Washington Post reported that clotting is manifesting itself in some pretty abnormal ways—including hundreds of microclots that form in the bloodstream, collect in lungs, and clog dialysis machines used to treat kidney disorders," says National Geographic.
COVID-19 has presented itself as neuropathy, "a type of damage to the nervous system. Specifically, it is a problem with your peripheral nervous system. This is the network of nerves that sends information from your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to the rest of your body. Peripheral nerves are the nerves that exit the spinal canal or skull and go to your face, trunk, or arms and legs," reports Cedars-Sinai.
"Acute kidney injury (AKI) is happening in about 15% of all hospitalized coronavirus patients, many of whom now need dialysis," reports the National Kidney Foundation. "If a patient ends up in the intensive care unit (ICU) their odds worsen—reports indicate that 20% and higher of intensive-care patients have lost kidney function."
"Patients recovering from COVID-19 may face a second battle—coping with the disease's mental health ramifications," reports MedPage Today. "This is particularly true for the sickest of the sick who required time in the ICU and intubation. These patients may experience 'post-intensive care syndrome' (PICS) that could manifest as a combination of physical, cognitive, and mental health impairments following an ICU stay for a critical illness. People suffering from PICS may experience anxiety, sleep difficulties, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."
"Doctors treating coronavirus patients say they're seeing a somewhat surprising symptom in young patients: delirium," reports NBC News. "Delirium is a serious disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of the environment. The start of delirium is usually rapid — within hours or a few days," says the Mayo Clinic. "Delirium is a common complication for patients in the hospital. Forty percent of patients may experience this, but it's more common in older patients," says NBC News.
Changing, Unpredictable Symptoms
One day a COVID patient may feel like they're having a heart attack. The next day, their chest feels fine but they have a rash on their toes. The next day, they feel like their old selves. The next day, they feel fatigued beyond belief. According to the CDC, "U.S. COVID-19 patients report a wide range of symptoms across a spectrum of illness severity."
Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome
"On May 4, the New York City Health Department issued a warning that 15 children in the city between the ages of 2 and 15 years had been hospitalized with multi-system inflammatory syndrome, which officials said is potentially linked to COVID-19," reports the Scientist. "There have been reports of similar illnesses among children in Europe who also tested positive for COVID-19. Clinicians described the symptoms as similar to toxic shock syndrome or Kawasaki disease: the children all presented with fever and some with a combination of rashes, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea." As for yourself, stay safe by reading our special report: 13 Ways You're Catching Coronavirus Without Realizing It.