One truth about COVID-19 is that it affects different people in so many disparate ways. There are dozens of potential symptoms; cases range from mild as allergies to life-threatening; and many people become infected but show no symptoms at all. But there are several hallmark signs of the disease that should put you on alert to begin self-isolating and call your doctor for advice. Here are some sure signs you have COVID now, as told by people who've battled coronavirus. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these other Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
You Might Get a Fever
Like many people, Elizabeth Schneider, 37, of Seattle first noticed something was wrong when she felt feverish. That night, she had a 103°F fever and uncontrollable chills. "The fever was quite high, I was pretty surprised about that. Normally when you get a cold, maybe you get a 100-degree fever or something like that, but a 103-degree fever is pretty serious," she told Healthline.
You Might Have a Loss of Taste and Smell
Losing the ability to taste and smell is a common sign of COVID-19, but it can be disconcerting to experience. "It was so bad I wasn't able to smell bleach," a 45-year-old Massachusetts woman named Liz told The Berkshire Edge about her COVID battle last year. "It was like waking up without arms… Other than the loss of taste and smell, I felt relatively healthy."
You Might Have Congestion
When Denise Russo-Caiazzo, 64, contracted coronavirus last spring, she felt congested and had stomach problems and a bad headache. "It felt like there was a boa constrictor around not just my chest, but my whole body, and it felt like my head was going to pop," she told The Morning Call.
You Might Have Body Aches and Fatigue
"The body aches could knock you down, and the fatigue was so bad I could barely get up to go to the bathroom," said 45-year-old Sandy Schnaithman of Dalton, Massachusetts, in the Berkshire Edge. "I had an annoying sore throat, postnasal drip, high fever and got winded going up one flight of stairs."
You Might Have Chills
"I had a constant fever that wouldn't break, even with Tylenol," Erik Noriega of Houston, Texas, told Houston Methodist's blog. "This made me uncomfortable 100% of the time. I was either cold and shivering or burning hot and sweaty. A few nights my chills were so severe and my teeth chattered so hard, my skull ached. About a week in I began to wonder if I'd ever feel healthy again as I could not remember what it felt like to not have a fever."
You Might Get Anxiety
"Beyond the feeling of isolation was also fear," said Noriega. "Was today the day I would start having trouble breathing? Would the virus begin to affect my lungs and other organs? If I had to go to the hospital, would I make it out alive? I literally counted the hours the first several days, assuming that every hour I was sick but not struggling for breath was a victory." It took 11 days after he began experiencing symptoms before that anxiety subsided.
How to Survive This Pandemic
If you experience any of these symptoms—
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
—seek medical help. And do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.