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"Weird" COVID Symptoms You've Never Heard Of

These bizarre symptoms could be COVID-19.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

At this point in the pandemic, we are familiar with the more common symptoms of COVID-19: Fever, cough, fatigue, loss of taste and smell, and so on. But there are some other unusual symptoms you might not immediately link to the virus—here are five weird COVID symptoms you should be aware of. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


COVID-19 Psychosis

senior woman with adult daughter at home.

There is growing evidence that a number of COVID-19 patients in the U.S. and worldwide may develop severe psychotic symptoms. "Maybe this is Covid-related, maybe it's not," says Long Island psychiatrist Dr. Hisam Goueli, who noticed a pattern emerging in his inpatient psychiatric treatment program for Covid-19 patients. "But then we saw a second case, a third case and a fourth case, and we're like, 'There's something happening.'"

"My guess is any place that is seeing Covid is probably seeing this," said Dr. Colin Smith at Duke University Medical Center in Durham. The reason why this might be happening? Experts believe the psychosis is linked to COVID-related inflammation and immune response. "Some of the neurotoxins that are reactions to immune activation can go to the brain, through the blood-brain barrier, and can induce this damage," says Dr. Vilma Gabbay, a co-director of the Psychiatry Research Institute at Montefiore Einstein in the Bronx.


Skin Rash

Woman scratching arm indoors

If you suddenly experience a skin rash that resembles hives, chicken pox, or chillblains, it could be an early sign of COVID-19. "Many viral infections can affect the skin, so it's not surprising that we are seeing these rashes in COVID-19," says Dr. Veronique Bataille, consultant dermatologist at St. Thomas' Hospital and King's College London. "However, it is important that people know that in some cases, a rash may be the first or only symptom of the disease. So if you notice a new rash, you should take it seriously by self-isolating and getting tested as soon as possible."

"These findings highlight the importance of keeping an eye on any new changes in your skin, such as lumps, bumps or rashes," says consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk. "Early reporting of COVID-associated rashes by members of the public and recognition of their significance by frontline healthcare practitioners – such as GPs, NHS 111 and hospital staff – may increase the detection of coronavirus infections and help to stop the spread."


Hair Loss

Woman examining her scalp and hair in front of the mirror.

A number of people with COVID-19 have reported unusual hair loss. "Hair loss after a stressful situation is not unusual," says dermatologist Alexis Young. "People can experience hair loss after childbirth or a major surgery, and we're now seeing the same results after COVID-19 infection in some people."

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COVID toes is a condition where blisters, swelling, and discoloration appear on toes, and sometimes also on fingers. "It's a different form of manifestation and it is still not very clear what causes it," says pulmonologist Humberto Choi, MD. "One pattern of COVID toes that people are reporting is red lesions typically on the soles. It's possible that this is a skin reaction or caused by a small clog or micro clots in the blood vessels found in the toes."

RELATED: Doctors Warn of "Worrying" COVID Symptoms


Vocal Issues

Woman touches her throat.

One of the more unusual symptoms of COVID-19 is "COVID voice"—where people with the virus experience hoarseness and speaking problems. "Any upper respiratory tract infection is going to cause inflammation of the upper airway," says pulmonary and critical care doctor Joseph Khabbaza, MD. "That includes the vocal cords. Laryngitis can occur with any of those viruses. When an upper respiratory tract infection affects the lungs, like COVID-19, you're going to be coughing even more. You already have an inflamed throat and vocal cords from the infection and then the secondary coughing that occurs can be quite violent and further irritating." 

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted 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.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan