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COVID Symptoms Patients Say to Watch Out For

Here's what doctors are seeing more of now.

More than two years into the COVID pandemic, the coronavirus continues to make news, not just because of the exploding case count but because of the nature of symptoms themselves. Some of the symptoms associated with the Omicron variant aren't the ones we've necessarily come to expect from COVID, and some people are reporting physical effects that linger long after the virus has supposedly cleared their bodies. There are some symptoms that COVID patients are seeing spring up, according to recent studies and doctors' reports. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Stomach Pain

Young woman suffering from pain on bed

Since the early days of the pandemic, researchers with the ZOE COVID Symptom Study have been tracking self-reported COVID symptoms through an app. This week, the scientists said there was a "sharp increase" in reports of stomach pain from mid-December to mid-January. "Gastrointestinal (GI) problems — such as diarrhea, stomach pains, feeling sick and losing your appetite or skipping meals — can all be symptoms of COVID-19," they said. However, it's not clear that Omicron is causing more stomach upset than previous variants—the increase in GI-related symptoms might be due to the usual winter upswing of stomach flu.


Sore Throat and These Other Symptoms

Sick man having sore throat.

Doctors report that people who've contracted the Omicron variant frequently complain of a scratchy or sore throat, especially in vaccinated people who are experiencing a breakthrough infection. "We are definitely seeing sore throat be a predictor in that group," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady told NBC 5 Chicago. "Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19," says the CDC:

"Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Sore throat
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting


"Pins and Needles"

Woman suffering from hand pain.

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) says that "pins and needles," a numbness or tingling sensation on the skin officially known as paresthesia, is being reported as a long-term symptom after COVID infection, part of the phenomenon known as "long COVID."  "Some people have widespread aching that can come and go for a time as you recover. Some people also have odd or altered feelings such as numbness or pins and needles and weakness in the legs," the agency says.


Organ Damage

Elderly woman wearing oxygen mask sleeping in hospital bed

A study published this week in the journal BMJ found that 1 in 3 people over age 65 who had COVID developed new symptoms in the year following their infection. Those include respiratory failure, kidney problems, hypertension, fatigue, and mental health issues. The researchers behind the study cautioned that it was an observational study that can't establish cause, but warned that because 357 million people have been diagnosed with COVID, the number of people with symptoms after their infection "will continue to grow."


How to Stay Safe Out There

Young woman close-up portrait while wearing face mask.

Get tested if you feel you have any of these symptoms. And follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, 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, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael