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Signs You May Have Had COVID Already, According to Dr. Fauci

FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The United States just set a COVID-19 death record for the second day straight and, with a new, more contagious variant found in two states, and holiday travel setting off sparks, the situation is predicted to get even worse. This means more hospitalizations and more deaths—and more Post-COVID syndrome. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has said this Post-COVID Syndrome, which is estimated to affect 10% or more of COVID patients, can resemble "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or myalgic encephalomyelitis" and indeed some patients find the similarities to be one-to-one. The CDC details the symptoms of ME/CFS—read on to see if you have them, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


You May Feel a "Lowered Ability to Do Activities"

A woman laying on sofa holding phone.

"Also called 'core' symptoms, three primary symptoms are required for diagnosis," says the CDC. One is a "greatly lowered ability to do activities that were usual before the illness. This drop in activity level occurs along with fatigue and must last six months or longer. People with ME/CFS have fatigue that is very different from just being tired. The fatigue of ME/CFS:

  • Can be severe.
  • Is not a result of unusually difficult activity.
  • Is not relieved by sleep or rest.
  • Was not a problem before becoming ill (not life-long)."


You May Feel a Worsening of Symptoms

Mature woman having heart attack on stairs, outdoors

"Worsening of ME/CFS symptoms after physical or mental activity that would not have caused a problem before illness. This is known as post-exertional malaise (PEM)," says the CDC. "People with ME/CFS often describe this experience as a 'crash,' 'relapse,' or 'collapse.'

During PEM, any ME/CFS symptoms may get worse or first appear, including difficulty thinking, problems sleeping, sore throat, headaches, feeling dizzy, or severe tiredness. It may take days, weeks, or longer to recover from a crash.

Sometimes patients may be house-bound or even completely bed-bound during crashes. People with ME/CFS may not be able to predict what will cause a crash or how long it will last." A crash can be sparked by a simple grocery store trip or a shower, or even due to mental effort, like attending multiple work meetings in the same day.


You May Have Sleep Problems 

Depressed man lying in his bed and feeling bad

"People with ME/CFS may not feel better or less tired, even after a full night of sleep," says the CDC. "Some people with ME/CFS may have problems falling asleep or staying asleep."


You May Have Problems With Thinking and Memory

Annoyed frustrated male reading bad news on the cellphone

"Most people with ME/CFS have trouble thinking quickly, remembering things, and paying attention to details," says the CDC. "Patients often say they have 'brain fog' to describe this problem because they feel 'stuck in a fog' and not able to think clearly."


You May Have a Worsening of Symptoms While Standing or Sitting Upright

Tired mature woman take off glasses suffering from headache

"This is called orthostatic intolerance," says the CDC. "People with ME/CFS may be lightheaded, dizzy, weak, or faint while standing or sitting up. They may have vision changes like blurring or seeing spots."


You May Have Pain

Moody young woman holding her neck

"Pain is very common in people with ME/CFS," says the CDC. "The type of pain, where it occurs, and how bad it is varies a lot. The pain people with ME/CFS feel is not caused by an injury. The most common types of pain in ME/CFS are:

  • Muscle pain and aches
  • Joint pain without swelling or redness
  • Headaches, either new or worsening."


You Might Also Have These Common Symptoms

woman touching her neck and feeling pain in throat while sitting in the living room at home.

Says the CDC: "Some people with ME/CFS may also have:

  • Tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpits
  • A sore throat that happens often
  • Digestive issues, like irritable bowel syndrome
  • Chills and night sweats
  • Allergies and sensitivities to foods, odors, chemicals, light, or noise
  • Muscle weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat"


What to Do if You Feel These Symptoms

Medical worker in protective suite taking a swab for corona virus test, potentially infected young woman

"While most persons with COVID-19 recover and return to normal health, some patients can have symptoms that can last for weeks or even months after recovery from acute illness," says the CDC. "Even people who are not hospitalized and who have mild illness can experience persistent or late symptoms." Call your medical professional if you feel any of the symptoms mentioned in this article.

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


How to Survive This Pandemic

Female Wearing Face Mask and Social Distancing

As for yourself, follow 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.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek