COVID-19 impacts everyone differently. Some people get extremely ill and wind up in the hospital on a respirator, while others never experience a single symptom. Therefore, it is entirely possible that you were infected with the virus and didn’t even know it. However, even those who were asymptomatic when infected, are not immune to “long COVID” or “post-COVID syndrome.” Are you one of them? Read off for signs you’ve already had COVID—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
You May Feel Chronic Fatigue
According to the Mayo Clinic, fatigue is one of the trademark symptoms long haulers suffer from. While everyone gets tired, they describe this type as “crushing,” explaining that it can make getting out of bed or working difficult.
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You May Feel Shortness of Breath
If you experienced respiratory discomfort and it still hasn’t gone away, it could mean you are a long hauler. According to the Mayo Clinic, shortness of breath can linger for many long haulers. In fact, in one article the Mayo Clinic explains that COVID-related pneumonia can permanently damage the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in an individual’s lungs. “The resulting scar tissue can lead to long-term breathing problems,” they explain.
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You May Cough
The American Lung Association explains that a lingering dry cough could be a result of permanent damage to the lungs, which may in turn affect the ability of the body to function normally — and it may be a long-term repercussion of COVID.
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You May Feel Joint, Chest, Muscle or Head Pain
Joint pain is a common complaint of long haulers, with the Mayo Clinic explaining that it is likely due to inflammation, a common manifestation of the virus. Chest pain, inflammation of the lung walls, is also highly cited, as is muscle pain and headaches. In one case report, a woman suffered from a post COVID headache for months after her initial infection. “New daily persistent headache (NDPH) is another chronic headache that can be triggered by viral diseases,” the researchers of the report explained.
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You May Have a Fast or Pounding Heartbeat
Heart palpitations, “feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart,” per Mayo Clinic, can also be a sign of a previous infection. “Stress, exercise, medication or, rarely, a medical condition can trigger them.” One JAMA Cardiology study noted that 78 percent of recovered COVID-19 patients reported “cardiac involvement,” while 60% reported ongoing myocardial inflammation.
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You May Lose Your Sense of Smell or Taste
If you lost your sense of smell or taste and it hasn’t returned, it could be a hint that you suffered a COVID infection.
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You May Have Memory, Concentration or Sleep Problems
COVID-19 impacts the neurological system. As a result, memory issues, sleep complications, and concentration troubles often plague long haulers for months after an infection.
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What to Do if You Fear You Have Long COVID
Contact a medical professional if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned here—but be warned that there is no “cure” for Long COVID and there’s a chance your doctor has either not heard of it or has no idea how to treat it. However, doctors can target your symptoms and offer existing treatments, while the NIH and others invest money in the research needed to solve the syndrome. In the meantime, get vaccinated, 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.