Skip to content

Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID, According to Johns Hopkins 

If you experienced these symptoms, it could have been COVID.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Woman suffering from cold, virus lying on the sofa under the blanket

A year into the pandemic, and many people are wondering if they already had COVID-19 and didn't even know it. Whether you were sick early in 2020, before testing was really an option, or you got sick at some point in the last year and didn't bother being tested, there is a possibility that you were in fact infected with the virus. So, what are some signs that you were in fact COVID positive? Eat This, Not That! Health contacted Neysa P. Ernst, RN, MSN, the nurse manager of the Johns Hopkins Biocontainment Unit, who, from the frontlines, revealed some of the trademark symptoms. Read on to learn about them—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

1

You Lost Your Sense of Taste or Smell

Portrait of young woman smelling a fresh and sweet nectarine
Shutterstock

One of the trademark symptoms of COVID-19 is the loss of sense of smell and/or taste. If you experienced "loss of taste and smell for three weeks or more" it was likely due to COVID, Ernst maintains. 

2

You Experienced Fatigue or Flu-Like Symptoms

Young man suffering from cold at his home
Shuterstock

Unfortunately, a COVID-19 infection often mirrors the flu. However, many people find that COVID lasts longer than the average case of influenza. According to Ernst, "10-14 days of severe bone numbing fatigue and flu like symptoms," are a likely sign it was in fact coronavirus. 

3

You Suffered From Shortness of Breath

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

Shortness of breath is another COVID-specific symptom. "Fatigue and shortness of breath with little exertion, often diagnosed as lower lobe pneumonia," could have actually been a COVID infection. 

4

You Have Experienced Lung Damage

Patients lying on hospital bed with mask, looking at lung x-ray film during doctor reading result and advice a treatment
Shutterstock

While you might not know if you have any lung damage, imaging, such as a Chest CT or X-ray, can help you figure it out. Ernst notes that imaging "indicating signs of lung damage, including 'ground glass'" is likely a result of a previous infection. 

5

You Had a Positive Antibody Test

Positive test result by using rapid test device for COVID-19, novel coronavirus 2019
Shutterstock

One way to know if you were previously infected with COVID-19 is to take an antibody test, explains Ernst. 

6

You Are Experiencing Long Hauler Symptoms

Tired woman lying in bed can't sleep late at night with insomnia
Shutterstock

According to one study, about 10% of those who are infected with COVID continue experiencing symptoms for months after their initial infection. This group of people has been dubbed "long haulers" and their condition, long COVID or long hauler syndrome. "Long haulers are COVID positive patients who are no longer infectious and or considered 'recovered' from the illness but who continue to exhibit symptoms of the virus for months," says Ernst. There are many symptoms associated with the condition.These include crushing fatigue, cognitive decline or "brain fog," persistent shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. "A smaller group of long haulers experience persistent GI symptoms, nausea, diarrhea," she adds. An even smaller group develops POTS, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.

7

What You Can Do to Stay Healthy

Woman put on medical protective mask for protection against coronavirus.
iStock

If you experienced any of these symptoms, contact a medical professional. And follow Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals and 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, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.