Skip to content

Sure Signs You Have COVID, Like These Celebrities Who Did

These stars have survived COVID and some of its worst symptoms.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Ellen DeGeneres

While health experts and doctors have played the largest role in raising awareness about COVID-19 during the pandemic, celebrities have also done their part by using their platforms to share their personal health struggles with the virus. Over the last year dozens of stars have battled COVID-19, and luckily, most have survived. However, during their battles they experienced some of the most common—and even many of the most severe—symptoms. Here are 10 sure signs you have COVID now, according to some of Hollywood's biggest stars who have survived them. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

1

You May Have "Excruciating" Back Pain

Beautiful young woman suffering from backache at home
Shutterstock

The only symptom experienced by Ellen DeGeneres during her COVID battle was one she had never heard of. "Apparently back pain is a symptom of COVID, which I did not know. I'm not saying if you have back pain, you have COVID, but it is a symptom. That's the only symptom I had. I didn't have a headache. I didn't have a fever. I didn't lose my sense of taste," she revealed when describing her ordeal on her show. "On the fourth day I woke up with back spasms and I thought I had pulled a muscle or slept weird cause I was in a different bed, but it just persisted. So the doctor put me on pain pills and muscle relaxers," she continued. "My back got worse. It felt like I cracked a rib." The doctors put her on a steroid pack "because the other stuff was not working," and eventually the pain subsided. 

2

You May Have an Unrelenting Fever

Sick woman with fever checking her temperature with a thermometer at home
Shutterstock

Broadway star Danny Burstein rehashed his COVID-19 nightmare to The Hollywood Reporter. In addition to a slew of other symptoms, he revealed that he suffered from a fever that just wouldn't quit. "My fever was always around 101.6, give or take," he revealed. "Tylenol seemed to be keeping it at bay, sort of," he said, adding that he was already taking an antibiotic and other drugs so he could sleep at night, "none of which seemed to be doing anything."

3

You May Have a Bloody Cough

Woman coughing hardly at home
Shutterstock

Burstein revealed that one symptom in particular stood out from the rest. "I didn't need that test result to know that I indeed had COVID-19," he said about waiting for his test results. "I'd been coughing up blood for two to three days." Despite the fact that he was using "an inhaler and a cough syrup with codeine," he was still struggling to sleep. "The phlegm this illness produces is like white, foamy plaque. You understand how this could build up and prevent one from getting enough breath. My phlegm was streaked and tinged with blood," he later explained. 

4

You May Have Multi-Inflammatory Syndrome

dialysis system patient hospital
Shutterstock

Chicago rapper Jeremih was hospitalized with a severe case of COVID in the late fall, suffering the complication of multiple inflammatory syndrome, a condition that causes major organs to become inflamed. "My heart was beating irregularly. My liver and kidneys were out. I can talk about this now because, thank God, I've made it and I'm still here, but I was on dialysis. I was on things I can only recall my grandparents talking about, to be so young," he explained. "They kept telling me the numbers weren't getting better," he added. "I'm just like, when did my body get this bad? I've never had any problems with it my whole life, for 33 years! To have everything just shut down, I'm just like, man." After a long stay in the ICU, he was released and literally had to "learn how to walk again." 

5

You May Have Hallucinations

Man hands on his head felling headache dizzy sense of spinning dizziness,a problem with the inner ear, brain, or sensory nerve pathway
Shutterstock

During his CNN show Cuomo Prime Time, Chris Cuomo revealed some scary details about his experience with COVID in the spring. "This virus came at me, I've never seen anything like it," he said, adding that he had a fever of more than 103 "that would not quit. And it was like somebody was beating me like a piñata." He also had the chills, which were so severe that they caused him to chip a tooth, and was up all night hallucinating.  "My dad was talking to me, I was seeing people from college, people I hadn't seen in forever," he said. "It was freaky what I lived through."

6

You May Have a Tightening of Your Chest

Man With Heart Attack
Shutterstock

 

Burstein finally realized he needed to go to the hospital when he "couldn't stop coughing up blood" and experienced another frightening symptom: chest pain. "My breathing became labored, I felt a tightening in my chest," he explained. "I couldn't seem to get enough air into my lungs. I felt light-headed and got down on one knee fearing I was about to faint or fall. I asked myself, 'Is this it? Is it time to go to the emergency room?' I stood up, willing myself to breathe deeply and muscle through. But when I stood up, I was once again light-headed." He described the sensation as the feeling of "an 80-pound boy standing straight up on my chest," he said.

7

You May Suffer a Loss of Sense of Smell

Sick woman trying to sense smell of half fresh orange, has symptoms of Covid-19, corona virus infection - loss of smell and taste
Shutterstock

During a virtual appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in November, Hugh Grant revealed that his infection started out with the sweats, and tightness of chest, but soon led to loss of sense of smell. "It started as just a very strange syndrome where I kept breaking into a terrible sweat. It was like a poncho of sweat, embarrassing really. Then my eyeballs felt about three sizes too big and this feeling as though some enormous man was sitting on my chest, sort of Harvey Weinstein or someone," he revealed. "I thought, 'I don't know what this is,' and then I was walking down the street one day and I thought, 'I can't smell a damn thing,' and you start to panic," he added. To check his senses he began "sniffing flowers" but couldn't pick up a scent. "And you get more and more desperate — I started sniffing in garbage cans. You know, you want to sniff strangers' armpits because you just can't smell anything. I eventually went home and sprayed my wife's Chanel No. 5 directly into my face. Couldn't smell a thing, but I did go blind!" he joked.

8

You May Have Anorexia, a.k.a. a Loss of Appetite

Displeased young woman doesn't want to eat her breakfast
Shutterstock

Andy Cohen revealed during an episode of SiriusXM's Jeff Lewis Live, that his appetite was severely impacted. "Yesterday was horrible. I have these moments every day where I'm like, 'Oh wait, I think I feel totally better' and then 10 minutes later I'm like, 'Ohh…' I don't have any sense of smell, I don't really have an appetite. I have been forcing myself to eat soup. Last night I had a bowl of soup for dinner, that was all I ate yesterday, I just did not have any appetite."

9

You May Have Shortness of Breath

Young man having asthma attack at home
Shutterstock

Bachelor star Colton Underwood experienced one of the more common COVID symptoms: shortness of breath, revealing that during his health crisis it was "hard to breathe." "I feel like I only have access to about 20 percent of my lungs," Underwood told PEOPLE at the time. "My breath is shorter, and I've had to train myself to talk differently with my breath. And I have to lie down and rest a lot."

RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID, Say Doctors

10

You May Have Brain Fog

headache

Alyssa Milano, who has been vocal about experiencing hair loss as one of her long hauler symptoms, also struggled with brain fog. "It's hard, especially when you're an actor and so much of your identity is wrapped up in those things, like having long silky hair and clean skin," she revealed on The Dr. Oz Show. "Along with that also, I have the brain fog. Which, again, as an actress, as someone who has to memorize dialogue and be able to emote, and respond, and be on my toes, it's frightening."

11

What to Do if You Have These Symptoms

Portrait of a cheerful doctor in modern office.
iStock

This CDC lists the below as the most common symptoms of COVID:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you experience those—or any of the symptoms mentioned by the celebrities—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.