Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID, According to the Mayo Clinic
The coronavirus is a devious disease. "Most people who have coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) recover completely within a few weeks," says the Mayo Clinic. "But some people — even those who had mild versions of the disease — continue to experience symptoms after their initial recovery. These people sometimes describe themselves as 'long haulers' and the condition has been called post-COVID-19 syndrome or 'long COVID-19.'" The Mayo Clinic goes on to name the "most common signs and symptoms that linger over time" and we've rounded them up here in this story, along with comments from medical experts. Read on to see if you have these symptoms—and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't miss COVID Symptoms Normally Appear in This Order.
You Might Now Have Fatigue, Muscle Pain or Headache
"Long-term symptoms of COVID can be summed up by the old quote: 'I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.' The various symptoms of COVID experience are as varied as people are," says Sheldon Zablow, MD. "For some, it is clear a viral illness has gotten hold of them and for others, they are not even aware they have been infected. The most common symptoms can also be the same ones that last for weeks or months called long-haul symptoms."
A profound fatigue is usually the most common. "Muscle and joint pain can occur and is often associated with weakness and lethargy in individuals with lasting symptoms," says Dr. Zablow.
You Might Now Have Shortness of Breath, Chest Pain or a Cough
The virus is a respiratory illness and can cause lasting damage. "Many individuals are experiencing a prolonged recovery from these symptoms," says Dr. Matt Ashley from the Centre for Neuro Skills. "This can vary from a nuisance to use of oxygen therapy for prolonged periods."
You Might Now Have Joint Pain
"People have described long term pain in their joints (arthralgia), following COVID infection and recovery from the acute period of the illness," says Dr. Ashley.
You Might Now Have a Fast or Pounding Heartbeat
"According to one study out of the University of Frankfurt in Germany, more than half of patients studied who had COVID-19 were found to have ongoing cardiac inflammation," says Hackensack Meridian Health.
You Might Now Have a Loss of Smell or Taste
"A prolonged loss of smell or taste is a tell-tale sign that you've previously had COVID," says Peter Bailey, MD. "A common clue left behind by the virus is a lingering loss of smell or taste, even if mild. If you can't taste your morning coffee or breakfast like you used to, this could be a lingering symptom of having had the virus."
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You Might Now Have Memory, Concentration or Sleep Problems
"Often the most bothersome long haul symptom is described as 'brain fog,'" says Lisa Ravindra, MD, FACP. "This difficulty with concentration and thinking coupled with profound fatigue has resulted in some of my patients taking prolonged time off work and needing to seek mental health treatment due to the stress of not knowing when they will recover."
You Might Now Have a Rash or Hair Loss
"Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19. A few months after having a high fever or recovering from an illness, many people see noticeable hair loss.While many people think of this as hair loss, it's actually hair shedding," says the AAD. "It happens when more hairs than normal enter the shedding phase of the hair growth life cycle at the same time. A fever or illness can force more hairs into the shedding phase."
You Might Now Have Organ Damage Caused by COVID-19
"As the pandemic unfolds, we are learning that many organs besides the lungs are affected by COVID-19," says the CDC. "COVID can also affect your renal system (acute kidney injury), your brain, heart, and liver." Says the Mayo Clinic:
"Organs that may be affected by COVID-19 include:
- Heart. Imaging tests taken months after recovery from COVID-19 have shown lasting damage to the heart muscle, even in people who experienced only mild COVID-19 symptoms. This may increase the risk of heart failure or other heart complications in the future.
- Lungs. The type of pneumonia often associated with COVID-19 can cause long-standing damage to the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. The resulting scar tissue can lead to long-term breathing problems.
- Brain. Even in young people, COVID-19 can cause strokes, seizures and Guillain-Barre syndrome — a condition that causes temporary paralysis. COVID-19 may also increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease."
You Might Now Have Blood Clots and Blood Vessel Problems
"COVID-19 can make blood cells more likely to clump up and form clots," says the Mayo Clinic. "While large clots can cause heart attacks and strokes, much of the heart damage caused by COVID-19 is believed to stem from very small clots that block tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the heart muscle."
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You Might Now Have Problems With Mood and Fatigue
"There have been reports of people recovering from COVID having neurologic symptoms that can linger including poor concentration, short-term memory difficulties, and even significant depression," says Dr. Zablow.
Many Long-Term COVID-19 Effects are Still Unknown
"Much is still unknown about how COVID-19 will affect people over time. However, researchers recommend that doctors closely monitor people who have had COVID-19 to see how their organs are functioning after recovery," says the Mayo Clinic. "Many large medical centers are opening specialized clinics to provide care for people who have persistent symptoms or related illnesses after they recover from COVID-19. It's important to remember that most people who have COVID-19 recover quickly. But the potentially long-lasting problems from COVID-19 make it even more important to reduce the spread of the disease by following precautions such as wearing masks, avoiding crowds and keeping hands clean." And for more about long-hauler symptoms, don't miss this full list of all 98 Symptoms Coronavirus Patients Say They've Had.