More than a year and a half after the coronavirus first hit, you might think we know everything there is to know about how the virus attacks and its symptoms.
After all, at this point, the bug behind COVID-19 is one of the most studied viruses in human history.
Yet, we’re still learning new things about it every day. And now, new research reveals another. It turns out the earliest coronavirus symptoms aren’t always what you’d expect.
Some symptoms are still the ones you’ve heard about all along, of course. But others might surprise you.
Plus, doctors and researchers say the symptoms can be different depending on your age and gender.
With the Delta variant still surging and Mu and other mutations waiting in the wings, there’s no better time to learn these newly uncovered warning signs.
That way, if you suspect you may have been exposed, you’ll know exactly when to seek help and get tested.
“One size fits all” warning signs DON’T fit all
Two things were apparent early on in this pandemic:
- The coronavirus spreads super fast, even before symptoms appear
- You can go from feeling fine to needing hospital care in a flash
That makes it crucial to identify the infection as early as possible. That way, you can isolate yourself, so you don’t spread it. Plus, you can get care earlier when it’s more likely to make a bigger difference in your recovery.
For example, monoclonal antibody treatments need to be given as soon as possible after your symptoms begin. Ideally, that is within four days, but no longer than seven.
And since many folks report feeling better between the third and fifth days of a COVID-19 infection only to have their symptoms come roaring back, it’s easy to see how you could miss that critical window.
We ALL know about the coronavirus cough, of course. It’s such a common symptom that people are afraid to even clear their throat in public these days. And an actual coughing fit can clear a room.
Well, the study confirms that coughing is indeed a key warning sign. But other symptoms can vary from person to person and across all age groups, too.
Surprising signs and symptoms of COVID-19
Folks over 60, for example, are much less likely to experience the infamous loss of smell. And past 80, it rarely happens.
On the other hand, if you’re over 60, you’re much more likely to have diarrhea. And that’s important because it’s not a symptom most people think is linked to COVID-19.
So there’s a good chance you could mistake your symptoms for a common flu bug or food poisoning. When it could actually be your first sign of infection.
Many people also ignore just about any sign and symptom if they don’t have a fever. And I certainly get why in this case. After all, a high fever has been one of the more frightening and often reported coronavirus warning signs.
Except here’s what you probably haven’t heard. The new study finds that while fever is common with COVID-19, it’s NOT common early on in the illness.
Fever often comes later. So you shouldn’t brush off other symptoms thinking they may be caused by a cold or allergies simply because you aren’t running a fever.
Other symptoms uncovered by the new study include:
- chest pain
- abdominal pain
- foot blisters
- sore eyes
- unusual muscle pain
The signs can be different depending on your gender, too. Shortness of breath, fatigue, chills, and shivers are more common in men. While women are more likely to experience chest pain, persistent cough, and, in younger women, a loss of smell.
So stay alert. Watch for ANYTHING unusual. And don’t make any assumptions about your symptoms.
At the first hint of anything out of the ordinary, call your doctor. Or just go ahead and get tested if you’re in an area that has easy access.