35 COVID-19 symptoms to be aware of
As of June 10, the United States has passed two million cases of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center. Since the first outbreak of the disease in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, scientific experts have been uncovering new information about the illness every day. However, many details remain unknown. Some of the biggest mysteries include what symptoms the illness causes. Early on, experts identified fever, coughing, and shortness of breath as key signs of COVID-19, but more mysterious symptoms have emerged in the months since.
Though states have begun to reopen public spaces, experts don’t expect the pandemic to end anytime soon. Many don’t expect a vaccine until next year at the earliest. Part of the reason the disease keeps spreading is that people with COVID-19 who don’t have symptoms likely spread the novel coronavirus. About 40%-45% of people infected with the virus are asymptomatic, and they can transmit the virus for a longer amount of time than those with symptoms, possibly more than two weeks, according to an Annals of Internal Medicine review published by the American College of Physicians on June 3.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, so many of the symptoms it causes are related to the lungs and breathing. However, some people also have gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting; others report neurological symptoms, for example, headache and confusion. Some of the disease symptoms are relatively harmless, including loss of taste and smell. Others, such as stroke and heart complications, can be deadly. New information is unfolding about these symptoms every day, and the prevalence of these symptoms varies based on a study’s methods and its location.
Stacker compiled a list of 35 COVID-19 symptoms that researchers have reported in scientific literature. Each symptom is confirmed by at least two peer-reviewed studies based on information gathered primarily in China, South Korea, France, and Italy at the beginning of the year and reported on in March and April. Learn what scientists know so far about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
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Dry or wet cough
Along with fever, coughing is one of the two most prominent symptoms of COVID-19. As with fever, children with COVID-19 are less likely to present with a cough than adults.
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, and about 46% of people with the disease experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Shortness of breath is one of the symptoms some Chinese scientists used to classify severe COVID-19.
Feeling tired and low energy
COVID-19 patients with severe and nonsevere disease are almost equally likely to experience fatigue, with 38% experiencing the symptom, according to a study of 1,099 COVID-19 patients from hospitals across mainland China.
Loss of smell
Loss of smell, known as anosmia, can be more common in women with COVID-19 and can occur in people with or without nasal symptoms such as congestion. It takes a median of seven days for those who lose it to recover their sense of smell, according to a study of 3,191 patients in Daegu, Korea.
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Loss of taste
At first, experts didn’t consider loss of smell and taste important symptoms of COVID-19, but now they recognize them both as common. Estimates of prevalence vary widely, with one European study reporting that 88% of people with mild or moderate COVID-19 experience some ageusia, or loss of taste.
Mucus and phlegm
About 29% of people with COVID-19 produce mucus and phlegm. Sputum, as the bodily fluids are also called, can be coughed up or spit out and come from the throat and lungs.
Sore and painful throat
Sore throats are a common symptom in many illnesses and even allergies. About 11% of people with COVID-19 develop a sore throat.
Rhinorrhea, or runny nose
A runny nose, or rhinorrhea, is present in a small percentage of COVID-19 cases. Though the numbers vary by study, about 8% have a runny nose, according to one study of 452 COVID-19 patients from a hospital in China.
Nasal congestion or a stuffy nose
Nasal congestion is a rarer symptom of COVID-19, affecting only about 5% of people with the disease. Runny nose and other nasal symptoms are not associated with loss of smell.
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