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Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID, Says Experts

How to help tell if you've had COVID and didn't know it, according to experts. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Millions of people around the world have experienced the misfortunate of dealing with the sickness and severe symptoms COVID can unleash, but there's some who have had the virus and didn't know it. "COVID-19 can present differently in each person, so it's important to not think you don't have it because of one symptom," Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Medical Director and Physician, Carbon Health and Saint Mary's Hospital tells us. Dr. Curry-Winchell, who has been treating COVID patients since the beginning adds, "The virus affects people differently." That said, there are a few signs that indicate you could have had the virus and didn't realize it at the time. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


How Soon Will Someone Show Signs of Sickness After the Initial Infection

sick immune system

Dr. Curry-Winchell states, "Depending upon the variant rate of infection you might show symptoms in two to five days. If you are concerned you might have it, get tested and examined if you have symptoms that continue to progress or present with new developments."


How Many Times Can Someone Get COVID

Sick woman holding her throat.

According to  Dr. Curry-Winchell, "There's no data to show how many times it's possible to contract COVID-19. Unfortunately, getting re-infected is possible. Researchers are still studying the long-term effects from multiple infections."


If the New Variants are Less Severe, Why Should People be As Concerned About Getting COVID?

Woman outdoor with cold and handkerchief

Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, "Although considered less severe, the virus affects people differently. The definition of a "mild or less severe" case does not mean you couldn't suffer from long term complications or become severely ill or hospitalized," She adds, "If you have been exposed to the virus or experiencing symptoms associated with COVID it's possible you have it. However, there is no real way to know outside of getting tested." 


Neurologic Problems

Woman fainted

Neurologist Arun Venkatesan, M.D., Ph.D., with John Hopkins says, "Some individuals develop medium to long-term symptoms following COVID infection, including brain fog, fatigue, headaches and dizziness.  The cause of these symptoms is unclear but is an active area of investigation."


Loss of Taste and Smell

woman trying to sense smell of half fresh orange, has symptoms of Covid-19

According to John Hopkins, "The senses of smell and taste are related, and because the coronavirus can affect cells in the nose, having COVID-19 can result in lost or distorted senses of smell (anosmia) or taste. Before and after people become ill with COVID-19, they might lose their sense of smell or taste entirely, or find that familiar things smell or taste bad, strange or different."


Breathing Issues

Woman is clutching her chest

Many people with COVID have respiratory issues, including breathing issues. Experts at John Hopkins say, "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."


Heart Problems

Adult male with heart attack or heart burn

As if COVID wasn't already enough to deal with, it can cause lingering symptoms and create health issues like heart problems. John Hopkins reports, "SARS-CoV-2 infection can leave some people with heart problems, including inflammation of the heart muscle. In fact, 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. 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." 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.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather