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Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID, According to a Doctor

Discover if you might have had the potentially deadly disease.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

There have been over 20 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S, with over 350,000 deaths. Chances are, a lot of people we know have had the coronavirus infection. And many people we know are wondering if that flu-like symptom they had this year was actually COVID. But how can you tell?  As a doctor, I know there are silent signs that indicate a person may have been infected with COVID-19. The bottom line is that only an antibody test can tell you for sure—or a COVID test if you're ill now—but since even those aren't 100%, read on for other clues. And to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.


You Got Sick

Sick woman with headache sitting under the blanket

If you were sick with a flu-like syndrome or had a strange diarrhea case or unexplained cough, you might have had COVID-19. Widespread testing isn't standard across counties, cities, and states, and many people have trouble getting testing access. 


You Had a Fever

Lady Holding Thermometer Having Fever Measuring Body Temperature Sitting On Sofa At Home

If you had a fever that could not be linked to other causes, it is possible that it could have been COVID-19. There are many reports that people with COVID experience fever. If you did not get tested for the flu or COVID, this could have been it. 

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


You Could Not Smell Things and Lost the Sense of Taste

Woman Trying to Sense Smell of a Lemon

Over 60 percent of people with COVID-19 have said to have lost the smell or taste. And The CDC lists this loss of taste and smell as a possible COVID-19 symptom. This loss of smell appears more commonly with COVID-19 than other respiratory viruses, but keep in mind that other viruses can cause these same symptoms, like allergies. A COVID antibody test could be useful.


Someone You Know Had COVID

Sick elderly woman of COVID-19 lies in bed at home wearing medical mask

If someone in your house had COVID, you were likely exposed. If you met someone at a park or in an outdoor area, you could still have had contact the virus. It is important that if you were around people that had confirmed cases, to advise everyone you have in-person contact with that you have been exposed. 

RELATED: COVID Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order, Study Finds


Your Kid Got Sick

sick girl lying in bed with a thermometer in mouth and touch his forehead

Children in general have been sick with COVID-19 less when compared to adults, but children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. And they can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to people around them. Even if they do not show symptoms.  The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and hospitals are investigating a rare and serious medical condition associated with COVID-19 in children called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). It isn't clear yet what triggers the MIS-C but if you have children that got sick during this pandemic, it is possible you were exposed to the novel coronavirus. 


You Had a Cough


If you experienced a hacking cough for days that could not be explained by allergies, pollen or the wildfires, it could have been COVID.  There is a lot of overlap with the common cold, the flu and the mild version of the coronavirus symptoms, and the flu test and COVID test both play an important role in case you have a cough.

While you wait for your turn to get the COVID vaccine, get a flu shot! Get it today! And keep yourself and others free from COVID-19, no matter where you live, wear a mask, avoid crowds, wash your hands and don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Leo Nissola, MD
Leo Nissola, M.D. is an award-winning immunologist and scientist. Follow him on Instagram @DoctorLeo and on Twitter @LeoNissolaMD. Read more about Leo