Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID, Say Experts
Long haulers—what they call those who suffer from debilitating symptoms after getting even a mild case of coronavirus—are part of a club you'd never want to join. One minute, they were healthy. The next, a virus they were told would "just disappear" has left them in agony. "There is no question that there are a considerable number of individuals who have a post-viral syndrome that really in many respects can incapacitate them for weeks and weeks following so-called recovery and clearing of the virus," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said last year. Experts like him are finding long haulers share a familiar list of symptoms. Read on to see if you have any of them—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
You May Feel Symptoms of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Including Fatigue
"You can see people who've recovered who really do not get back to normal that they have things that are highly suggestive of myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome," Dr. Fauci says. "Brain fog, fatigue, and difficulty in concentrating—so this is something we really need to seriously look at." "Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a disabling and complex illness," says the CDC, adding that people are so incapacitated that they "are often not able to do their usual activities." "At times, ME/CFS may confine them to bed," says the CDC of those who have it. "People with ME/CFS have overwhelming fatigue that is not improved by rest."
You May Feel Post-Exertional Malaise
"ME/CFS may get worse after any activity, whether it's physical or mental," says the CDC. "This symptom is known as post-exertional malaise (PEM). Other symptoms can include problems with sleep, thinking and concentrating, pain, and dizziness. People with ME/CFS may not look ill. However,
- People with ME/CFS are not able to function the same way they did before they became ill.
- ME/CFS changes people's ability to do daily tasks, like taking a shower or preparing a meal.
- ME/CFS often makes it hard to keep a job, go to school, and take part in family and social life.
- ME/CFS can last for years and sometimes leads to serious disability."
You May Feel Shortness of Breath
A British study in the BMJ identifies "fatigue and breathlessness" in patients, and add "around 10% of patients who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus remain unwell beyond three weeks….Home pulse oximetry can be helpful in monitoring breathlessness."
You May Have Myalgia
Dr. Fauci has identified myalgia as a Post-COVID Syndrome symptom. "Myalgia describes muscle aches and pain, which can involve ligaments, tendons and fascia, the soft tissues that connect muscles, bones and organs," reports Johns Hopkins. These pains can appear anywhere—you might feel like you're having a heart attack, only for it to be inflammation in your rib tissue.
You May Feel Brain Fog
As Dr. Fauci said, brain fog—an "inability to concentrate"—is a common symptom. "At this point, it seems like a third of patients will have some type of neurological illness associated with COVID-19," says Omar Danoun, M.D., a neurologist with Henry Ford Health System. "But this includes a spectrum of issues: memory issues, brain fog, seizures, strokes, and neuropathy (or numbness in the extremities, usually hands and feet). We don't have solid evidence yet that this is the exact percentage of COVID-19 patients who will experience brain fog."
What to Do If You Experience These Symptoms
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact a medical professional. There is no cure (yet) for Post-COVID Syndrome, which can be extremely discouraging. "We're going to make a major investment in research dollars to try and find out the full extent of this," Dr. Fauci told Rachel Maddow, offering the faintest glimmer of hope. Until then, there are existing remedies for your symptoms that may work for you. Inquire about them, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't miss this list of all 98 Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.