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Signs You Had COVID Inside You, Say Experts

Look out for these five signs and symptoms.

COVID-19 infections are surging across the country once again. While you might be vaccinated against the virus, making it more unlikely you will suffer a serious infection, you may still be prone to Long COVID. In a conversation organized by MyMee—the service that uses the power of data and analytics to help you overcome even the most complex autoimmune issues—Priya Duggal, Ph.D. Vice Chair for Faculty, Department of Epidemiology and a professor at Johns Hopkins University details the few key signs and symptoms to look out for —and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Your Symptoms Don't Go Away or You Develop New Symptoms

Young woman sitting alone on her sofa at home and coughing.

The first sign you have Long COVID is if you suffered an infection and 30 days to two months later you are still experiencing symptoms, have developed new symptoms, or are "not recovering in the way" you would expect, explains  Dr. Duggal. 


You Experience Fatigue

Woman lying at bed.

Per Dr. Duggal, "the most common long-term symptom" of COVID is fatigue. In case you aren't sure exactly what post-COVID fatigue feels like compared to regular exhaustion, Dr. Duggal points to some studies that found those with long COVID who wore activity trackers during exercise experienced a higher heart rate because their hearts have to work harder. "It's not tachycardic where it's so much higher that you could feel your heart pounding, but it is consistently higher for months on end," she explained. 


Shortness of Breath

Woman suffering an anxiety attack alone in the night

Shortness of breath, "specifically on exertion," is another key symptom of long COVID. "We saw this very early on coming out of China, that people who were asymptomatic actually had a CT scan of their lungs, what we call ground glass opacities, which are very typical of COVID and yet they were asymptomatic," she explained. "So not shocking them that they would have long-term symptoms talking about shortness of breath on exertion." 


Brain Fog

Man hands on his head felling headache dizzy sense of spinning dizziness,a problem with the inner ear, brain, or sensory nerve pathway

Brain fog is another key symptom of long COVID, and Dr. Duggal explains that no, it isn't just in your head. She refers to a "really nice study out of the UK" which compared the brain scans of people infected with COVID before and after their illness. With those who reported brain fog, "they can see changes in their brain right between the two," she maintains. "It takes it away from being just like all in your head, or 'I'm not sure what this is,' or 'Isn't this just you being tired from a pandemic?' to actually seeing physical change."


Tachycardia and Other Symptoms

Woman is clutching her chest

The last symptom Dr. Duggal mention is tachycardia, "where people just have this really high heart rate," she explains. Adds the CDC: "People commonly report experiencing different combinations of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities (also known as post-exertional malaise)
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as "brain fog")
  • Cough
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Pins-and-needles feeling
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleep problems
  • Fever
  • Dizziness on standing (lightheadedness)
  • Rash
  • Mood changes
  • Change in smell or taste
  • Changes in menstrual period cycles"

Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these, 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