Skip to content

The New COVID-19 Symptoms That Are Easy to Miss

Turns out COVID toes were only the beginning.

According to the latest medical research, most people recover from COVID-19 within one or two weeks. Some people might feel mostly or totally better, but others may experience symptoms that linger for months. Those "long-haulers" were the focus of a recent study, in which 1,567 people described the symptoms they continue to experience. Respondents reported a wide range of symptoms, some quite typical of what we've heard about COVID-19 infection (fever, respiratory issues) and others rather unusual. Here are some of the weirdest long-term side effects the group reported. And to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 21 Subtle Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.


"Hot" Blood Rush

Shortness of breath. Unhappy mature woman sweating and touching head

Most of us experience a "rush" as something pleasant. Not so for the 152 people in the study who reported this lingering, blood-boiling symptom.

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says This is the Weirdest COVID-19 Side Effect


Abnormally Low Body Temperature

The surprised girl holds a thermometer in her hands.

Although fever is a much-discussed hallmark symptom of COVID-19, 91 "long-haulers" reported having an abnormally low body temperature after they had technically recovered.


Herpes, EBV or Trigeminal Neuralgia

Part of a young woman's face with a virus herpes on lips, treatment with ointment

Thirty-eight long-haulers reported an outbreak of herpes, EBV (Epstein-Barr Virus) or trigeminal neuralgia, a painful condition that affects a nerve which is extensive throughout the face, neck and head. Herpes and EBV are caused by the human herpesvirus, and stress or low immunity can exacerbate them. Nerve pain can result.



adult male in face mask receiving treatment at hospital suffering respiratory disease lying on bed

This condition, in which the cartilage in the rib cage becomes inflamed, was reported to be a long-term effect of COVID-19 by 98 people in the study. Costochondritis can cause pain upon deep breathing, coughing or even just moving, and it can range from mild to severe.


Phantom Smells

man holding his nose because sinus pain

152 people in the study reported smelling something in the air that simply wasn't there. Researchers suspect neurological symptoms like this may be caused by the coronavirus's inflammatory effect on brain tissue.


Partial or Complete Lack of Smell or Taste

girl with a spoon near a mouth

This curious symptom got a lot of publicity as an early sign of COVID-19. A different study by the CDC found that coronavirus patients who experience a loss of smell regain it by a median of eight days. But this study found that 460 people reported a lack of smell, and 375 people reported a lack of taste, as a longer-lasting COVID side effect.

RELATED: Dr. Fauci's 10 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus


Hair Loss

losing hair

423 people reported hair loss as a long-term effect of COVID-19—almost as many people who reported a loss of their sense of smell.


Personality Change

Upset girl with a phone

The study suggests that COVID-19 seems to affect the brain more than any other body system long-term, including the lungs—more people reported more lingering symptoms related to the brain than any other organ. One symptom reported by 41 people was a drastic change in personality.


"Floaters" Or Flashes of Light in Vision

Eye Floaters Myodesopsia, Blue Sky

249 people reported seeing "floaters" — little specks that float around — or flashes of light in their field of vision.


Excessive Salivation

Woman Feeling Nauseous

Forty-one people reported GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease, a.k.a. acid reflux or heartburn) with excessive salivation as a long-term side effect. A few months after the pandemic began, scientists were surprised that some people were reporting stomach problems as their initial (and some times only) symptom of coronavirus infection.


Jaw Pain

Close-up portrait of charming old lady, covering her mouth with hands

Eighty people reported jaw pain as a lingering side effect of COVID-19.


Cracked or Dry Lips

woman with dry mouth

Seventy-three patients reported cracked or dry lips as a long-term effect of coronavirus.


Scalp Issues

Senior man and hair loss issue

COVID-19 seems to spare no part of the body, no matter how big or small. Eighty people reported that the virus had left them with a painful scalp, and 52 reported a dry scalp or dandruff.



Woman stands about a mirror in a bathroom with open mouth.

Thrush is a condition when a yeast-like organism called Candida albicans grows in thick white patches over the mouth, tongue and throat; 42 people in the study reported this as a long-term side effect. It could be due to COVID's suppression of the immune system, allowing the yeast—which is naturally present in all of our bodies—to grow unchecked.


COVID toes

doctor, the podiatrist examines the foot

An unexplained rash, which often appears on the toes, is a hallmark of coronavirus infection for some. Health experts aren't quite sure why. In this study, 59 people reported it.

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: 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 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael
Filed Under