The shadow of COVID-19 looms large over the year 2020, and it’s unlikely to change any time soon. More than 3 million people have been infected globally, and the symptoms caused by the disease can range from annoying to incapacitating.
Why the wide variance in symptoms? Nobody is 100% certain, but we do know that seniors and people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes or hypertension have the highest risk of severe illness. Tap or click here to see some of the telltale symptoms of COVID-19.
Despite most people describing the well-known signs like fever and a dry cough, some patients experienced different symptoms that went ignored or underestimated. In light of this, the CDC has updated its symptom profile with six new signs you can check yourself for at home. Here’s what we know.
CDC acknowledges several new coronavirus symptoms
In an update to its online coronavirus portal, the CDC has added the definitions for six new COVID-19 symptoms that had only been described anecdotally in weeks before.
Previously, the CDC had only listed three primary symptoms: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Additional symptoms were typically extrapolated from these original three or seen as “uncommon symptoms” by medical professionals.
However, as the U.S. crosses into well over 1 million cases, our knowledge of the disease has grown considerably. Many people with mild cases have since described unusual phenomena like losing their sense of taste and smell, or severe headaches that come out of nowhere.
In light of these confirmations, here are the newly added symptoms to watch out for:
- Chills: A typical side-effect of fever, users across social media reported significant chills before health professionals formally defined the symptom for COVID-19. Patients may feel extremely cold despite the presence of fever.
- Repeated shaking with chills: Trembling is typically found in conjunction with fever and chills, but not always.
- Muscle pain: Commonly accompanies fever, unusual muscle pain was an early symptom reported anecdotally by COVID-19 patients.
- Headache: Some COVID-19 patients complained of severe headaches, which many overlooked by mistaking it for a migraine or tension headache. This may have caused patients to underestimate whether they were infected or not.
- Sore throat: A symptom found in both the common cold and influenza, sore throat can easily be mistaken as a symptom for other, milder respiratory infections.
- New loss of taste or smell: An unusual symptom that may indicate COVID-19 affects the nervous system to some extent. Patients typically recalled losing their sense of smell first before any other symptoms present themselves. Upon recovery, the sense of smell returned. Researchers are debating whether the sense of taste actually dissipates or is diminished due to a missing sense of smell.
As you can see, a host of new symptoms points to a far broader profile for this new disease than previously assumed. These confirmations also help separate real aspects of the disease from fictional ones circulating on social media. Tap or click here to see some of the most common COVID-19 myths and the truth behind them.
On the positive side, enough people have successfully recovered from the virus that we can more accurately describe the range of symptoms. As more people continue to recover, our knowledge will also grow. This may even help us better direct our efforts towards finding an effective treatment or cure.
If I have these symptoms, when should I go to the hospital?
As severe as COVID-19 is, most people will not need to visit the emergency room. The outpouring of data from American hospitals and testing facilities has confirmed that the majority of cases are indeed mild, and sick people with mild cases are better off isolating themselves at home.
For those who are more severely sick, the CDC does include guidelines on its web portal for when to get emergency treatment. According to the CDC, seek help immediately if you have any of the following emergency symptoms.
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
The CDC advises that anyone calling for help tell the 911 operator that they suspect they may have COVID-19. This will allow emergency workers to properly equip themselves before coming to your aid.
This list, however, is not all-inclusive. Some people may have specific emergency symptoms related to pre-existing or other conditions. Please consult with your medical provider if you’re not sure.
Thankfully, unlike at the beginning of this pandemic, we have a much clearer understanding of how to protect ourselves from this virus. If you don’t get sick (by staying indoors and taking proper sanitary methods), you won’t even have to worry about mild symptoms in the first place. Tap or click here to see the proven ways to protect yourself.