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Signs You've Already Had COVID, According to Johns Hopkins

Here's what to watch for.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

From the beginning of the pandemic, one of the most-watched resources on COVID-19 was the coronavirus dashboard maintained by Johns Hopkins, which tracked the rise in cases as the virus spread across the country. Researchers at the institution are now studying "long COVID," or lingering signs of the illness, and a study published this week shed some light on one of the most common and strange. These are some of the signs you might experience with long COVID, according to Johns Hopkins doctors. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Loss of Smell

woman trying to sense smell of half fresh orange, has symptoms of Covid-19
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Early in the pandemic, one of the most notable symptoms of COVID-19 was loss of smell. Some people found this lingered even after the virus had technically cleared their bodies. According to a study released Monday, Johns Hopkins researchers say they may have figured out what causes the phenomenon: Inflammation caused by the virus, not the virus itself, seems to damage nerves in the olfactory bulb at the base of the brain, preventing the brain from receiving signals about smells. The good news: Most people who develop the symptom seem to recover it within three to four weeks.

2

Breathing Issues

Young man having asthma attack at home
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A COVID infection of any level of severity can lead to long-term breathing changes. "A bad case of COVID-19 can produce scarring and other permanent problems in the lungs, but even mild infections can cause persistent shortness of breath — getting winded easily after even light exertion," say the experts at Johns Hopkins.

3

Heart-Related Symptoms

Senior man suffering heart attack while jogging with wife.
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"One study showed that 60% of people who recovered from COVID-19 had signs of ongoing heart inflammation, which could lead to the common symptoms of shortness of breath, palpitations and rapid heartbeat," says Johns Hopkins. "This inflammation appeared even in those who had had a mild case of COVID-19 and who had no medical issues before they got sick."

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4

Neurological Symptoms

brain fog
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"Some individuals develop medium to long-term symptoms following COVID infection, including brain fog, fatigue, headaches and dizziness," said neurologist Arun Venkatesan, MD, Ph.D. Researchers don't know why but are trying to find out.

5

Mental Health Issues

Shot of a young woman suffering from depression in her bedroom
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If you've had COVID, you might experience mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. "Physical changes such as pain and weakness can be complicated by long periods of isolation, stress from job loss and financial difficulties, and grief from the deaths of loved ones and the loss of good health," notes Johns Hopkins.

6

How to Stay Safe Out There

woman being vaccinated
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Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated 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

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more