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Top 10 Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Long Hauler symptoms include fatigue, muscle aches, a loss of appetite and more. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

With more than 500,000 Americans gone from coronavirus, the pandemic has never been more deadly. But a certain section of those afflicted do not die after the virus passes through them—and yet they remain ill, and possibly will be ill forever. They are called Long Haulers and they have what doctors call Post-acute COVID Syndrome or Long COVID. "There's no question that there are a considerable number of individuals who have a postviral syndrome that really, in many respects, can incapacitate them for weeks and weeks following so-called recovery and clearing of the virus," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said. Read on to see the Top 10 symptoms ranked from less to more common, according to a new study—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss the full list of Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


You Might Have Muscle Aches

Asian women and stiff shoulders

Fauci has said "myalgia" is common with Long Haulers. This kind of muscle pain can "develop almost anywhere in your body, including your neck, back, legs and even your hands," according to the Mayo Clinic. It's likely because your tendons and tissues are inflamed.


You May Experience Loss of Appetite

Displeased young woman doesn't want to eat her breakfast

You may not desire food if you have Post-COVID Syndrome. "A survey of 640 U.S. long hauler patients in April and May by the 'Patient-led Research for COVID-19' group compiled a list of 62 symptoms they reported suffering, such as chills or sweats, 'brain fog,' trouble sleeping, and loss of appetite. Their symptoms typically fluctuated in intensity and frequency, with patients feeling better for days or weeks at a time, only to relapse with old or even new symptoms," reports the Center for Science in the Public Interest.


You Might Have Breathing Difficulty (With a Normal O2 Saturation Level)

Woman having chest pain and coughing while lying down on sofa at home.

You might be getting enough oxygen—but still have trouble breathing. "Even though many patients reported breathlessness during treadmill walking tests, only 4% had abnormal chest x-rays—all of whom had been hospitalized," according to WebMD, which talked to researcher Dr. Liam Townsend. "That suggests the breathing problems were, for the most part, not related to persistent lung damage."


You Might Have Chills/Flushing/Sweats

Shortness of breath. Unhappy mature woman sweating and touching head

"Dr. Michael Dolan has practiced internal medicine for decades," according to NY1. "He works for Gundersen Health System and sees a high number of patients going through this." "Common symptoms are shortness of breath, chest tightness, fatigue, fevers, chills, night sweats," he said.  "A lot of people have this cognitive fog they live in like their brain doesn't want to work."


You May Have a Sore Throat

Woman sore throat with glass of water in her bed

"I might have a week of a really, really sore throat, or a week of a killer headache," says Jenny, 45, from the UK, in Bloomberg Businessweek.  Slowly I started to feel a bit stronger. I was awake longer and functioning in the morning, getting the kids doing home-schooling. But then I would just crash after lunch."


You Might Have Tightness of Chest

Man With Heart Attack

"The Winchester Chest Clinic at Yale New Haven Hospital has seen more than 100 COVID-19 survivors from March through September, according to Dr. Jennifer D. Possick, the clinic's director. Patients struggle with shortness of breath, chest discomfort, fatigue, poor exertional tolerance, cough, or chest pressure," reports the CT Mirror.


You'll Most Likely Feel Fatigue—Possibly Like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Depressed woman awake in the night, she is exhausted and suffering from insomnia

"Many patients, in some series estimated up to 10%, have prolonged, multisystem symptoms with no evidence of organ damage or dysfunction," reports Practical Pain Management. "These patients most often have severe exhaustion, headaches, myalgias, and mood and cognitive disturbances with normal physical and laboratory findings. This is the subset experiencing symptoms most similar to post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)—also termed benign myalgic encephalomyelitis (BME) in the UK, fibromyalgia and other related, poorly understood disorders associated with chronic fatigue and pain. In these conditions, there has been no strong evidence for organ damage or persistent and significant immune/inflammatory abnormalities."


You Might Have Shortness of Breath

Woman suffering an anxiety attack alone in the night

"In addition to shortness of breath, long-haulers report extreme fatigue, tachycardia (a racing heart) and cognitive complications such as memory loss and brain fog that interfere with everyday tasks," according to AARP. "For some, these symptoms can last weeks. A July report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 35 percent of adults who had mild cases of COVID-19 still weren't back to their usual state of health two to three weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus. (By comparison, more than 90 percent of people with the flu recover within two weeks of having a positive test result, the report's authors write.)"


You Might Have a Dry Cough

Man sneezing into his elbow.

"Even while I am speaking with you there is a painful feeling at the base of my lungs," Deb Eleniak, a 51-year-old Chipman-area woman, told Airdrie Today, which adds she "struggles with fatigue and speaks in a raspy voice due to a persistent dry cough. She is one of a growing number of 'long haulers'—once-positive COVID-19 patients who still have symptoms despite having shed the virus."

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


You Might Have a Fever (>= 100.4F)

Ill woman lying in bed looking at thermometer suffering from seasonal flu and infectious disease

"On March 15, Melanie Montano woke up with a fever and chills. Her Covid-19 symptoms progressed quickly; she lost her sense of smell and taste and had trouble breathing," reports Vox. "Seven months later, she's still struggling with fevers, brain fog, fatigue, and pain in her arms and legs. She'll feel better some days, only to feel worse the next, in what she calls the 'coronacoaster.'" In the study, an elevated Temperature (98.8-100.4F) was also on the list. If you feel any of these symptoms, contact a medical professional. 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.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek