What are some of the unusual symptoms of COVID-19?

Answer From Daniel C. DeSimone, M.D.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can cause a wide range of signs and symptoms. The most common are fever, cough and tiredness.

Other symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Chest pain

But COVID-19 can cause symptoms you may not expect, including:

  • Digestive symptoms. COVID-19 might cause nausea, vomiting or diarrhea — either alone or with other COVID-19 symptoms. Digestive symptoms sometimes develop before a fever and respiratory symptoms.
  • Loss of smell or taste. A new loss of smell or taste — without a stuffy nose — is a common early symptom of COVID-19. Research suggests that most changes in smell and taste often resolve in 30 days. In some people, however, moderate to severe changes in smell and taste can last 60 days or more.
  • Skin changes. The most common skin changes linked with mild to severe COVID-19 include a flat rash covered with small bumps, discolored areas on the fingers and toes (COVID toes), and hives.

    COVID toes appear to be more common in children and young adults. Swelling or discoloration can develop on one or several toes or fingers. The hands, wrists or ankles also can be affected. Blisters, itchiness, rough skin, or painful bumps can occur. A small amount of pus might develop under the skin. The symptoms can last 10 to 14 days or for months.

    However, swollen, discolored fingers or toes could also be chilblains, an inflammatory skin condition. Chilblains develop in response to repeated exposure to cold air.

  • Confusion. Severe confusion (delirium) might be the main or only symptom of COVID-19 in older people. This COVID-19 symptom is linked with a high risk of poor outcomes, including death.
  • Eye problems. Pink eye (conjunctivitis) can be a COVID-19 symptom. Research suggests that the most common eye problems linked to COVID-19 are light sensitivity, sore eyes and itchy eyes.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. They can range from mild to severe. If you think you might be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider.

With

Daniel C. DeSimone, M.D.

June 11, 2022 See more Expert Answers

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