5 Strange New Ways Coronavirus Attacks Your Body
You know COVID-19 wreaks havoc on your lungs. But new research shows it affects many more parts of your body.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, doctors and scientists are discovering new things about the novel coronavirus every day. It's hard to keep track of all the symptoms of the coronavirus and the virus' long-term health effects can be alarming, but they're also an essential reminder that there's still so much about COVID-19 that we don't know yet. With that in mind, we took a look at some of strange new ways that coronavirus can attack your body. Here are five of the oddest new scientific discoveries on what COVID-19 can do to everything from your brain to your bowels. And for more on how coronavirus affects different people, learn these 7 Silent Symptoms of Coronavirus Seniors Need to Know.
It can give you pink eye.
The coronavirus is a respiratory infection, which means that most of the common symptoms you've heard about, including a dry cough and shortness of breath, have to do with your lungs. But the virus can infect other parts of your body, too—like your eyes. In a recent study out of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, which has not yet been peer reviewed, researchers found that almost 30 percent of COVID-19 patients had pink eye, or conjunctivitis.
And that's not the only link between coronavirus and your eyes: The same study found that the virus could be detected in (and thus transmitted through) patients' tears. And for more surprising ways COVID-19 presents itself, make sure you're aware of these 6 New Coronavirus Symptoms the CDC Wants You to Know.
It can show up in your semen.
A May study in the journal JAMA Network Open made headlines when researchers discovered the presence of the coronavirus in semen. Though the sample size for this study was small, among the 38 patients involved, the virus was found in the semen of 6 men, 2 of whom were recovering.
And that's not the only potential link between the coronavirus and the male reproductive system: Recent research from Albert Einstein College of Medicine & Montefiore Medical Center, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, suggests that the testicles can be a reservoir for the virus. While there has been no evidence that COVID-19 can be sexually transmitted, if the coronavirus does attack the male reproductive system, that could be one of the reasons why men seem to be more susceptible to the virus than women. And to learn more about how coronavirus affects different people in different ways, check out This Is Why Some People Have Coronavirus Symptoms and Others Don't.
It can produce rashes on your skin.
It's not just the inside of your body that the coronavirus attacks—the virus can also wreak havoc on your skin. There have been several different studies on the various rashes and other skin abnormalities induced by COVID-19. A recent study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that 6 percent of coronavirus patients suffered from livedo, a condition marked by "mottled, purplish discoloration of the skin." And a March study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology found that 20 percent of the coronavirus patients studied had some kind of rash, including one that resembled chicken pox. And for more on how coronavirus attacks your skin, discover these 7 Signs Your Skin Is Trying to Tell You You Have Coronavirus.
It can cause irregularities in your bowels.
We've known for a while now that the coronavirus can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, like diarrhea. But researchers are now learning more about the way the virus attacks your bowels. In a May study published in the journal Radiology, 31 percent of patients who received abdominal CT scans (3.2 percent of patients overall) were found to have bowel abnormalities. These abnormalities—including thickening and ischemia, which is when a part of the body isn't getting enough blood—were more common in sicker patients who had to go to the ICU.
It can increase cases of psychosis.
We're becoming increasingly aware of the mental health effects of long-term quarantine, but new information suggests a potential link between COVID-19 infection and psychosis. A review of recent research published in the journal Schizophrenia Research in May found that the pandemic could be causing an increase in psychosis. Part of that is the reality of living through uncertain and stressful times, but there is also evidence that viral exposure and coronavirus treatments could have a catastrophic effect on patients' mental health. And for more information on the virus, check out these 25 Coronavirus Facts You Should Know by Now.