Since last December 2019 (when COVID-19 was first reported), we didn't know much about the virus, how it presents itself and how it works in the body. But experts have done tons of research since then, and while we still don't have all the answers, we have more than before. This includes the list of symptoms associated with the virus.
While the main symptoms remain fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue, the list has become much longer. As more and more people become infected, experts have become aware of the less common symptoms that the public should be aware of.
Let's look at some of the unusual symptoms of COVID-19 that you should be aware of:
Nausea and diarrhea
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated their list of COVID-19 symptoms to include nausea and diarrhea.
This is the case after several studies have found links between COVID-19 infection and the appearance of these symptoms. Such a study, which was one of the first to point out this connection in April, was carried out by Stanford University researchers.
"A third of the patients we examined had gastrointestinal symptoms," said Dr. Alexander Podboy, co-author of the study, said in a statement.
"It is possible that due to our current test strategies, which focus exclusively on respiratory symptoms, we may miss a significant proportion of the patients suffering from the coronavirus."
Loss of taste and smell
A study published in the Wiley Online Library found a relationship between COVID-19 patients with flu-like symptoms and loss of taste and smell (chemosensory dysfunction).
"In outpatients with flu-like symptoms, chemosensory dysfunction was strongly associated with COVID-19 infection and should be considered when symptom screening," the study concluded.
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"Most will restore the chemosensory function within weeks, in parallel with the resolution of other disease-related symptoms."
The loss of taste and smell is also included in the CDC's recently updated list of COVID-19 symptoms.
Decreased alertness, difficulty concentrating, muscle pain
While this is not necessarily common, more and more research suggests that COVID-19 may have other neurological symptoms. A study published in the journal JAMA examined 214 patients with COVID-19. They found that 36.4% of them had neurological symptoms that were more common in patients with severe infection.
A recent study published in Annals of Neurology magazine suggested that almost half of COVID-19 patients had neurological manifestations of the virus in the hospital.
"SARS-COV-2 infection can initially appear with neurological symptoms before fever, cough, or breathing problems occur," said Dr. Igor Koralnik, lead author of the study, in a statement.
The list of the study, which neurological factors could include dizziness, headache, decreased alertness, difficulty concentrating, odor and taste disorders, seizures, strokes, weakness and muscle pain.
Rashes were classified by the Cleveland Clinic as a "new symptom of COVID-19". Although not much research was done to investigate this connection, one study found a connection.
The study, carried out by dermatologists working with COVID-19 patients in Italy, found that 20% of the 88 patients examined developed skin-related symptoms. Almost half of the patients developed these symptoms only after a hospital stay.
Some patients developed hives, others chickenpox-like blisters, but the most common skin-related symptoms the experts saw were an erythematous rash (a blotchy red rash).
"This is a first report and perspective of the SARS-COV-2 skin manifestations, so we undeniably need more papers to confirm and better understand the skin's involvement in COVID-19," the study concluded.
Here is the complete, updated CDC list of COVID-19 symptoms:
Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath (difficulty breathing), tiredness
Muscle or body pain
New taste or smell loss
Constipation or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Note: According to the CDC, this list does not include all possible symptoms, but will continue to be updated as you learn more about COVID-19.
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