During the coronavirus pandemic, a few key voices have emerged to provide guidelines of how to avoid the disease, and treat it if you show warning signs: Dr. Anthony Fauci; the CDC; the WHO; and the Cleveland Clinic are among the most widely-known. The Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit academic medical center, provides “clinical and hospital care and is a leader in research, education and health information” and has been on the cutting edge of COVID care. “The CDC says you may have coronavirus if you have these symptoms or combination of symptoms,” they report—read on to see their list of symptoms, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
You Might Have Fever or Chills
This is one of the most common warning signs you may have contracted COVID-19—but some patients never have one, and having one doesn’t necessarily mean you have coronavirus. However, if you have a fever, assume you have COVID-19 and take precautions. “A fever is a higher-than-normal body temperature. It’s a sign of your body’s natural fight against infection,” says the Cleveland Clinic.
- “For adults, a fever is when your temperature is higher than 100.4°F.
- For kids, a fever is when their temperature is higher than 100.4°F (measured rectally); 99.5°F (measured orally); or 99°F (measured under the arm).”
You Might Have Cough
“These days, the moment you develop a little cough or start to feel slightly sick, your brain might go immediately to COVID-19,” says the Clinic. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you have a dry cough—one without phlegm—it may signal coronavirus.
You Might Have Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
“When you feel like you can’t get enough air into your lungs, it’s called shortness of breath. Doctors call this frightening feeling dyspnea. It can be a sign of many different health problems. You might describe it as having a tight feeling in your chest or not being able to breathe deeply,” reports the Clinic. “Shortness of breath is often a symptom of heart and lung problems. But it can also be a sign of other conditions like asthma, allergies or anxiety.” Or COVID.
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You Might Have Tiredness
Feeling worn out is normal during any virus. And it can come with having COVID. So can a more profound fatigue. “Everyone feels tired from time to time. Fatigue is feeling severely overtired,” says the Cleveland Clinic. “Fatigue makes it hard to get up in the morning, go to work, do your usual activities and make it through your day. You might have an overwhelming urge to sleep, and you may not feel refreshed after you rest or sleep.”
You Might Have Muscle or Body Aches
You might remember hearing that Ellen DeGeneres had “excruciating” back pain while having COVID-19. “Any sensation of pain is a result of nerve impulses sent from the body to the brain, signaling that something is causing injury or discomfort in the affected area,” reports the Cleveland Clinic. “Muscle pain and discomfort, known as myalgia in medical terms, is not a disease in itself. It is an indication of” potentially the coronavirus, or “injury, muscle disorder, or a symptom of a wide range of possible disorders.”
You Might Have Headaches
“Headache may be one of the earliest symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID)-19, and identifying patients with the characteristic features may help to provide early isolation and treatment, according to study results published in Headache,” writes Amit Akirov, MD, in Neurology Advisor.
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You Might Have New Loss of Taste or Smell
Dr. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, calls this a “telltale” sign of COVID because, although it can happen for numerous reasons, there’s a good chance you have COVID if it happens during the pandemic. “Abnormal sense of smell can refer to either a decreased or absent sense of smell, smelling odors that are not really present, or the inability to identify odors,” says the Cleveland Clinic. “These can significantly affect quality of life for a patient, causing anxiety and decreased enjoyment of food. Changes in taste and smell can occasionally be dangerous for patients, such as when you cannot smell smoke or other warning odors.”
You Might Have Sore Throat and Congestion or Runny Nose
Although these symptoms can be normally attributed to the flu or common cold, if you experience them this year—particularly in tandem with any of the other symptoms mentioned in this article—consider them a warning sign you may have coronavirus.
You Might Have Nausea or Vomiting or Diarrhea
“Although initial data found the prevalence of GI”—gastrointestinal—”symptoms to be 2% to 10% among patients with COVID-19, subsequent studies have reported higher rates,” says a report in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. “In a multicenter study of 204 patients with COVID-19 in China, 50.5% reported GI symptoms at presentation to the hospital.”
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Additional Symptoms are Possible
“Symptoms may appear between two and 14 days after exposure to the virus. Children have similar, but usually milder, symptoms than adults. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk of more serious complications from COVID-19,” says the Clinic.
These Symptoms Require Emergency Attention
Says the Cleveland Clinic: “Call 911 and get immediate medical attention if you have these warning signs:
- Trouble breathing.
- Persistent pain or pressure in your chest.
- New confusion.
- Inability to arouse (wake up from sleep).
- Bluish lips or face.
This list does not include all possible symptoms. Contact your healthcare provider if you are concerned you may have coronavirus, have other symptoms or have any severe symptoms.”
When You Should be Tested for Coronavirus
The Clinic advises: “Call your healthcare provider if you:
- Feel sick with fever, cough or have difficulty breathing.
- Have been in close contact with a person known or suspected to have COVID-19.
Your healthcare provider will ask you questions about your symptoms. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you need to be tested for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 and where to go to be tested.”
And follow the public health fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, 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.