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Every COVID Symptom Ranked by Popularity in New Study

Know all the signs of coronavirus, so you can seek help when needed.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

There are many symptoms that are associated with a COVID-19 infection. However, some are much more common than others. New research released by the Office for National Statistics data for England, using data obtained between October and January, shows these were the most common symptoms among people testing positive for coronavirus. We've ranked them from least to most common. Read on to find out what they are—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


You Might Have Abdominal Pain

woman doubled over in pain holding her bloated stomach suffering from gi gastrointestinal distress

5.91 percent reported this

Out of all the people who tested positive for COVID, 5.91 percent reported abdominal pain. While it might seem like a very odd COVID symptom, a recent article published in the American Journal of Roentgenology found that 5 percent of people reported it as the only sign of the virus. "It's important not to be lulled into a false sense of security by a chief complaint of abdominal pain," Abraham Dachman, MD, professor of radiology and abdominal imaging specialist with UChicago Medicine wrote. "The fact that we observed several patients presenting in this way in such a short time period suggests that although abdominal symptoms are an unusual presentation of the infection, they are not rare, and abdominal radiologists must be on the lookout to diagnose COVID-19, even when it is not suspected clinically."


You Might Have Diarrhea

woman hand flush toilet after using

6.03 percent reported this

The least common digestive issue people experienced was diarrhea, with 6.03 percent reporting it. "A number of different viruses, including coronavirus, can lead to gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms like diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common symptom because it is your body's way of quickly clearing viruses, bacteria, and/or toxins from the digestive tract," says DispatchHealth.


You Might Experience Nausea/Vomiting

Sick woman coughing, experiencing hiccup.


8.79 percent reported this

Nausea and vomiting was reported by 8.79 percent of those surveyed. "The upper GI tract (i.e., nausea/vomiting) seems to be affected before the lower GI tract (i.e., diarrhea) in COVID-19, which is the opposite from MERS and SARS," reported scientists from the USC Michelson Center's Convergent Science Institute in Cancer in a study, published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.


You Might Have Shortness of Breath

Woman suffering respiration problems sitting on a couch in the living room at home

10.48% percent reported this

Shortness of breath is one of the trademark symptoms of COVID, experienced by a little over one out of ten people. According to Darren Mareiniss, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical College – Thomas Jefferson University, it usually presents itself on day 6-10 of symptoms. According to the CDC,  shortness of breath is more commonly reported among people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 than among people with milder disease (non-hospitalized patients).


You Might Have Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Middle aged woman suffering from abdominal pain while sitting on bed at home

14.24 percent reported this

The CDC reports that gastrointestinal symptoms—including nausea, vomiting or diarrhea—is another somewhat common manifestation of the virus. Sometimes they present themselves before a fever or other respiratory symptoms. The study found that 14.24 percent of respondents reported one of them. 


You Might Have a Loss of Smell

Woman Trying to Sense Smell of a Candle

16.23 percent reported this

Loss of smell (anosmia) is another trademark symptom of COVID. Per the CDC, it is especially prominent among women and younger or middle-aged patients. The study found that 16.23% of people reported it. 


You Might Have a Loss of Taste

female cook standing at the hob in her apron tasting her food in the saucepan with a grimace as she finds it distasteful and unpalatable

17.14 percent reported this

Similar to loss of smell, ageusia, loss of taste was reported by nearly one out of five (17.14 percent) people who tested positive. While the majority of people get their senses back within days, some still cannot taste or smell for months after. 


You Might Have a Sore Throat

Woman touching her throat.

18.61 percent reported this

A sore throat is a common manifestation of a viral infection. Per the survey, it was experienced by 18.61 percent of COVID positive patients. According to the CDC, a sore throat is one of the more common mild symptoms reported by those who are not hospitalized. 


You Might Have a Fever

Ill woman lying in bed looking at thermometer suffering from seasonal flu and infectious disease

18.92 percent reported this

A fever, when your body temperature increases to over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, is another common sign your body is fighting an infection. According to the survey, 18.92 percent of people reported a spike in temperature. Per the CDC, older adults and people with medical comorbidities may experience fever and respiratory symptoms later during the course of illness than people who are younger or who do not have comorbidities


You May Lose Your Sense of Taste/Smell

Portrait of young woman smelling a fresh and sweet nectarine

20.03 percent reported this

20.03 percent of people reported losing their smell and taste, according to the survey.  


You May Have Muscle Aches

Woman experiencing back ache.

22.02 percent reported this

22.02 percent of those who test positive feel aches and pains in their muscles. Coronavirus is one of the many viral infections that can cause inflammation of the muscle tissue, aka, myositis. The CDC reports that it is one of three common symptoms reported by those who are not hospitalized with the illness. 


You May Have a Headache

Young woman with headache

27.78 percent reported this

A headache is another common ailment associated with COVID. Per the survey, 27.78 percent of people reported this. According to the CDC, a headache is one of three symptoms most commonly reported by those with a mild COVID infection. 


You May Have Fatigue/Weakness

Woman lying on her bed with her eyes closed.

28.11 percent reported this

Fatigue and weakness are associated with many illnesses—including COVID. According to the survey 28.11 reported fatigue, which the CDC explains is another one of the hree symptoms most commonly reported by those with a mild COVID infection. 


You May Have a Cough

Man sneezing into his elbow.

29.4 percent reported this

29.4 percent of people reported surveyed experienced a cough. "Considering that COVID-19 irritates lung tissue, the cough is dry and persistent. It is accompanied with shortness of breath and muscle pain," reports ScienceAlert. "As disease progresses, the lung tissue is filled with fluid and you may feel even more short of breath as your body struggles to get enough oxygen."

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What to Do If You Feel These Symptoms

A mature man having a medical exam done in the doctors office.

If you experience any of these symptoms you should call your doctor and get tested immediately. Not only will it be helpful for you to know whether or not you are infected, but can help others you were in contact with to determine if they are infected also, as the virus can be transmitted from person-to-person prior to any symptoms arising. 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.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah