These 4 Easy-To-Miss Symptoms Could Mean You Have COVID, Experts Say
While a fever or cough might be expected, you could mistake these early warning signs for something else.
While it may be dangerously easy to spread or catch the novel coronavirus, it can be surprisingly difficult to tell if you have it based on your symptoms. In fact, it's so similar to what you might feel with seasonal allergies or the flu that it can be downright impossible to confirm without a COVID test. But according to research, there are some very easy-to-miss symptoms that could be telling you that you have come down with coronavirus very early on.
These seemingly innocent ailments could be important initial warnings that you've caught coronavirus—and they have nothing to do with your lungs, Express Daily reports. "It's possible we may be missing a significant portion of patients sick with the coronavirus due to our current testing strategies focusing on respiratory symptoms alone," said Alexander Podboy, MD, author of a Stanford Medicine study on COVID. Read on to find out which symptoms you should be on the lookout for, and for more on how the pandemic is affecting your area, check out How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.
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Depending on how sensitive your digestive tract is, stomach pains may be something you could easily overlook as a relatively normal occurrence. But those infected with coronavirus can exhibit digestive issues ranging from the severe—such as vomiting and diarrhea—down to simple aches and pains, which might not be as glaringly easy to pick up on. According to one study published in the journal Gastroenterology in April, 32 percent of a set of coronavirus patients exhibited stomach problems, with a majority describing them as mild.
"COVID-19 is probably not just respiratory symptoms like a cough," Podboy, co-lead author of the study, said in a statement. "A third of the patients we studied had gastrointestinal symptoms." And for more symptoms to be aware of, check out If You Notice These 3 Strange Symptoms, You May Have COVID, Study Says.
If you notice your eye is irritated, it could be another sign that the coronavirus is already in your body. A study published in JAMA Ophthalmology found that conditions such as chemosis (swelling of the clear membrane of the eye) and epiphora (excessive tearing) had been observed in more than 30 percent of patients in a Chinese hospital, Healthline reports. But it doesn't end there: Another study published in the Journal of Medical Virology in April found that afflictions such as conjunctivitis can affect three percent of those infected with coronavirus. And for more on this symptom, read up on The Connection Between Pink Eye and COVID-19.
Confusion or brain fog
You may play off a lack of mental clarity as the result of missing your morning cup of coffee or dealing with the stresses 2020 has caused. But mounting research has shown that COVID-19 can have neurological effects on the vast majority of those it infects in the form of confusion, temporary memory loss, and inability to focus. In fact, an October study conducted by Northwestern Medicine found that a shocking 82 percent of patients hospitalized with coronavirus experience neurological symptoms.
"Our findings show neurological manifestations are very common in these patients," Igor Koralnik, MD, chief of neuro-infectious diseases and global neurology in the Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology at Northwestern Medicine, told ABC News. And for more on the current surge, check out I'm a Doctor and This Is What's Most Devastating About COVID Now.
Feeling groggy or tired is common these days amid the pressures of life in a pandemic, but it's also a symptom of the virus itself. According to a research letter published in JAMA in April, 68.3 percent of COVID-19 patients reported fatigue as a "main" symptom of the disease. And for more on how you can suss out this symptom, check out This Is How to Tell If Your Fatigue Could Be COVID, Doctors Say.