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21 Ways To Tell You Caught COVID

The most common symptoms include some “wacky” side effects.

With President Trump battling the coronavirus, you may be wondering, do I have it too? While discussing the case with your medical professional and getting tested is the only way to know for sure, there are some warning signs, and the NY Times put together a story this weekend about identifying how COVID is different from the flu. Read on to discover the sure signs of coronavirus, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.


High Fever

Sick young woman at home on the sofa, she is covering with a blanket, taking temperature and blowing her nose with a tissue

"Fever is one of the main symptoms of sickness from coronavirus infection, along with cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure to coronavirus, according to the CDC," advises AdventHealth. "If you or a family member has a fever, defined by the CDC as 100.4º F or 38º C or higher; a cough; or trouble breathing, call your physician."



woman covered by a blanket on the sofa with high fever and flu

"The chills generally precede a fever, though people don't always perceive when their temperature has spiked, Dr. David Aronoff, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center," tells NPR. "Sometimes, those chills can be accompanied by shaking, since shivering is our bodies' way of generating heat and raising our temperature, he says."


Dry Cough


"Cough was the second most common symptom after fever, though 'coughing was not always there,'  Charitini Stavropoulou, an associate professor in health services research at City, University of London in the U.K.," tells NPR. "'So while we think it's a main symptom, it appears only two out of three times for patients with COVID-19.' That said, cough remains a 'very, very common symptom of the pneumonia that the virus can cause,' says Aronoff. Given this fact, 'if someone has a new cough or a new shortness of breath that's cropped up in the last three days or so, they should definitely get tested.'"



Woman suffering from cold, virus lying on the sofa under the blanket

"Thousands of coronavirus patients, including many who were not ill enough to be hospitalized, have been suffering for months from fatigue and a range of other symptoms," reports the BBC. "My chest got really bad again. I was struggling to breathe and I wasn't able to get out of my bed," one patient told the network. "My fatigue was like nothing I've ever experienced before."


Sudden Loss of Sense of Smell

Portrait of young woman smelling a fresh and sweet nectarine

"If someone is experiencing this symptom"—known as anosmia—"'I would tell them that they should consider self-quarantining themselves and contacting their health care providers,'" says Dr. Carol Yan, an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon at UC San Diego Health, to NPR. "Most people who experience loss of smell or taste also have other symptoms, commonly fever, fatigue and malaise, she says. 'But there's certainly a subset of people that we know have only smell and taste loss and no other symptoms' who ultimately test positive."

RELATED: CDC Warns of Deadly New COVID Syndrome


Sore Throat

sore throat

"A sore throat can be one symptom of COVID-19. At this point in time, it isn't well documented when exactly a sore throat occurs in the course of the infection," reports Healthline. "In other respiratory illnesses, like the common cold, a sore throat is often an early symptom. Because respiratory viruses are inhaled, they enter your nose and throat first. They may replicate there early on, leading to throat soreness and irritation."


Congestion or Runny Nose

Ill person blowing his nose with closed eyes

"With mild COVID-19, which happens in at least 80% of people, symptoms can include congestion or a runny nose," reports WedMD. "During this outbreak, it's best to assume any symptoms could be COVID-19 and isolate yourself from others. Even mild COVID-19 can be transmitted to someone else who could develop a more severe form of the infection."


Vomiting, Diarrhea and Stomach Pain

Middle aged woman suffering from abdominal pain while sitting on bed at home

"In a recent study performed by the American Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers found that 50.5% of the 204 patients they analyzed reported some sort of digestive symptom, including loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain," reports Ochsner Health. "The study also noted that as the severity of COVID-19 increased for the patient, digestive symptoms became more pronounced."


Feeling Somewhat Out of Breath When Exerting Yourself

Young man having asthma attack at home

"Shortness of breath, or dyspnea or breathlessness, is caused by a decline in lung function to a threshold that can produce symptoms," Haala K. Rokadia, MD, FCCP writes for Mira. "The severity of shortness of breath depends on your baseline lung health and the extent of Covid-19 disease. Consider these questions: Do you have shortness of breath doing a task that you would otherwise normally not have symptoms doing?; Is walking up a flight of stairs or going from one room to another more difficult today than it would have been a month ago?; Do you have shortness of breath at rest when you are sitting?"


Red or Itchy Eyes

"COVID-19 may cause pink eye, or conjunctivitis — inflammation of the clear tissue covering the white part of the eye and lining the inside of the eyelids — but only in about 1% to 3% of infected people, according to AAO. Symptoms of conjunctivitis include eye redness and irritation," reports All About Vision. "The virus may be spread to the eyes by touching or rubbing your eyes with fingers that have become contaminated by the coronavirus."

RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get


Redness or Blisters on Fingers or Toes

Woman holding feet toes

So-called Covid toes, which resemble chilblains, can be painful. "The condition may develop on your toes, fingers, or both. From what we know, it seems that most people develop this only on their toes, which explains the name 'COVID toes,'" reports the American Academy of Dermatology Association. "The swelling and discoloration can begin on one or several toes or fingers, according to Amy Paller, MD, FAAD, who is a board-certified pediatric dermatologist and Chair of Dermatology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. At first, you might see a bright red color that gradually turns to purple. COVID toes can also begin with a purplish color."



Woman having headache migraine. Stress and depression.

"Findings from an observational study of more than 100 patients show headache onset may occur during the presymptomatic and/or symptomatic phases of COVID-19 progression and sometimes mimics tension or migraine headaches," reports Optometry Times.


Muscle Pain

Woman holds her belly with hands with closed eyes due to pain

"Joint aches happen in 14.8% of cases," reports Health Central. "The areas you feel pain can vary from one person to the next."


Serious Issues

Female doctor in mask making notes in medical card while talking to patient at hospital

If you experience any of the following conditions, contact a medical professional immediately as they are signs of serious coronavirus.

RELATED: 11 Signs You Need to Go the ER—By an ER Doctor


Serious Breathing Difficulty

woman with oxygen mask at hospital

"For some diagnosed with COVID-19, shortness of breath is a more severe symptom," reports, "and can be treated in a hospital setting with supplemental oxygen," says Subinoy Das, MD, chief medical officer of Tivic Health Inc. "The extra oxygen helps increase the amount of oxygen in a patient's blood. 'In rare cases, pressurized oxygen through a mechanical ventilator is needed to force the oxygen through severely inflamed lungs into the blood stream,'" Dr. Das tells the website.


Pain or Pressure in the Chest

Man having chest pain - heart attack, outdoors

COVID can affect your heart and your lungs. "Once in the chest, the virus begins to impact a person's airways — causing inflammation," according to Dr. Tim Connolly, a pulmonologist at Houston Methodist. "As inflammation increases, a barking, dry cough that sounds and feels like asthma develops. In addition, this can cause chest tightness or deep pain while breathing."


Blue Lips or Blue Face

Dark purplish lips color in congenital cyanotic heart disease girl patient.

"Blue lips occur when the skin on the lips takes on a bluish tint or color. This generally is due to either a lack of oxygen in the blood or to extremely cold temperatures," reports Healthgrades. "When the skin becomes a bluish color, the symptom is called cyanosis. Most commonly, blue lips are caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood."


Confusion or Incoherent Answers to Simple Questions

Woman has a Migraine and headache after wake up in the morning.

"Many ER docs across the U.S. have reported examining a high number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients who they describe as being 'happy hypoxics,' meaning those admitted were not complaining of severe shortness of breath, dizziness, or confusion, even when their blood-oxygen levels were dangerously—sometimes, even life-threateningly—low," reports Health Central. "So, if you are sick at home with this virus, be sure to regularly check your own blood-oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter, which you can purchase online or from any drugstore."

RELATED: Signs COVID-19 is in Your Brain


Collapsing or Losing Consciousness

Young woman, blond hair, fainted in bed.

"Patients are also having peripheral nerve issues, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can lead to paralysis and respiratory failure. I estimate that at least half of the patients I'm seeing in the COVID-19 units have neurological symptoms," reports Robert Stevens, M.D.of Johns Hopkins.


Blood Clots

blood clot

"Adding to the disease's fearsome nature is that it can cause blood clots that lead to heart damage, brain damage and lung damage," reports the Times

RELATED: 11 Signs COVID is in Your Heart


Heart Damage

Woman having bad ache and pain heart attack health problem.

"Even some cases that appear mild or asymptomatic create signs of what doctors believe may be long-lasting heart damage," reports the Times. "Patients with myocarditis often experience symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, fever and fatigue—while some have no symptoms at all," reports Scientific American.



Doctor check up x-ray image have problem lung tumor of patient.

"Another unusual aspect of Covid is that people sometimes develop pneumonia without realizing how sick they are," reports the Times. "Doctors are unsure why; one theory is that the air sacs in the lungs are damaged in a way that does not cause the buildup of carbon dioxide, which creates that 'desperate for air' feeling. Many doctors recommend buying a pulse oximeter, a fingertip device that measures oxygen levels in the blood. Multiple readings below 92 percent should trigger a call to a doctor. The earlier pneumonia is caught, the better the outcome."


How to Avoid COVID-19

woman put on a fabric handmade mask on her face

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss 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