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The 15 COVID Symptoms Scaring Doctors

The COVID-19 'Long Hauler' Symptoms Survey revealed the cost of coronavirus.

A survey conducted by Dr. Natalie Lambert of Indiana University School of Medicine and Survivor Corps analyzed the long-term experiences COVID-19 survivors are having with the virus. The COVID-19 'Long Hauler' Symptoms Survey Report identified 98 long-lasting symptoms. "We're learning that once you get rid of the virus in a certain proportion of people, they still can not necessarily feel normal for variable periods of time," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, in a Q&A with the Washington Post on Monday. Read on to discover the top 15 symptoms from the survey—and also don't miss this essential list of the Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.



Woman touching stomach painful suffering from stomachache causes of menstruation period, gastric ulcer, appendicitis or gastrointestinal system disease

506 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

This one was even more common than a respiratory problem for some patients. "Diarrhea was the most common GI manifestation of COVID-19 and the first symptom of COVID-19," in an analysis from Wuhan, China, where the virus began.


Heart Palpitations

man having heart attack

509 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

"The virus can harm the heart, and doctors are concerned about long-term damage," reports Science Mag. "How the heart heals after COVID-19 could help determine whether a patient develops an irregular heartbeat."


Joint Pain

Close-up shot of woman suffering from pain in arms, weakness and kneads the hand/osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, wrist sprain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fractures

566 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

"If you're experiencing joint pain, it may be caused by inflammation in your body. Inflammation attacks joint tissues, causing fluid in your joints, swelling, muscle damage, and more," says Penn Medicine orthopedic surgeon, Christopher S. Travers, MD. "There are a few ways to manage inflammation in your joints from home. Just remember the useful acronym, R.I.C.E.: rest, ice, compression, and elevation."




577 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

"The most prominent symptoms of COVID-19 are fever and fatigue, and you may feel like you have a cold or flu. Cough is present in about half of infected patients," reports Science Alert. "Considering that COVID-19 irritates lung tissue, the cough is dry and persistent. It is accompanied with shortness of breath and muscle pain. As disease progresses, the lung tissue is filled with fluid and you may feel even more short of breath as your body struggles to get enough oxygen."


Persistent Chest Pain or Pressure

Young woman in pajamas having heart attack in her bedroom (woman, pain, stroke, chest)

609 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

"Chest pain also can be the result of a cardiac issue or due to a non-cardiac cause, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, a muscle or skeletal problem in the chest, or even a symptom of COVID-19," reports Practical Pain Management.




656 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

"Loss of smell, dizziness, and rash are among the symptoms of COVID-19 that people may miss," reports Healthline.


Memory Problems

Memory Disorder

714 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

"Because COVID-19 involves a massive release of inflammatory signals, the impact of this disease on memory is particularly interesting to me," writes Natalie C. Tronson, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan. "That is because there are both short-term effects on cognition (delirium), and the potential for long-lasting changes in memory, attention and cognition."



anxiety depression

746 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

Nearly half of Americans (48%) are anxious about the possibility of getting coronavirus, COVID-19, and nearly four in ten Americans (40%) are anxious about becoming seriously ill or dying from coronavirus, but far more Americans (62%) are anxious about the possibility of family and loved ones getting coronavirus," according to a poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association.


Difficulty Sleeping

trouble sleeping

782 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

"Sleep neurologists are reporting increased sleep disturbances and the misuse of sleep medications in people recovering from COVID-19 and people whose lives have been beset by fear and social isolation," reports Neurology Today. "Neurologists who specialize in sleep disorders are seeing an increase in sleep disorders associated with COVID-19, a surge they're terming 'COVID-somnia.'"



man in white casual t-shirt, holding head with both hands, suffering from severe headache

902 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

"From the most recently available data," says Dr. Sandhya Mehla, a headache specialist with the Hartford HealthCare Headache Center, "it is estimated that headache is a symptom of COVID-19 in about 13 percent of patients with COVID-19. It is the fifth most common COVID-19 symptom after fever, cough, muscle aches and trouble breathing."


Inability to Exercise or Be Active

Portrait of young man felling depressed and desperate crying alone in sofa home suffering emotional pain and unhappiness

916 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

According to a study published in JAMA Cardiology, researchers recommend that patients who suffered from severe cases of COVID-19 wait at least two weeks before resuming light exercise. Some can't.

RELATED: COVID Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order, Study Finds


Difficulty Concentrating or Focusing

woman hold head in hands suffer from grief problem, depressed lonely upset african girl crying alone on sofa at home

924 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

Says the Advisory Board: "Up to one-third of people who had Covid-19 report lingering neurological and psychological symptoms due to the disease, ranging from numb limbs to a mental slowness some people are calling 'Covid fog'—a finding that 'reflect[s] a growing consensus that the disease can have lasting impact on the brain,' Elizabeth Cooney reports for STAT News."


Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing

Woman with breathing problem

924 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

"Shortness of breath refers to unexpectedly feeling out of breath, or winded. But when should you worry about shortness of breath? There are many examples of temporary shortness of breath that are not worrisome. For example, if you feel very anxious, it's common to get short of breath and then it goes away when you calm down," reports Harvard Health. "However, if you find that you are ever breathing harder or having trouble getting air each time you exert yourself, you always need to call your doctor. That was true before we had the recent outbreak of COVID-19, and it will still be true after it is over."


Muscle or Body Aches

Man suffering from back pain and kidney stones

1,048 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

"The inflammation that aggravates our muscles when we're fighting off an infection typically lasts a lot longer than soreness caused by physical exertion; even if they feel similar to each other at first," reports The Ladders. "When our immune system becomes stimulated we become more attuned to its activity. By and large, pains caused by our adaptive immune response persist for about two weeks. The physical manifestations of this are often sharp and incapacitating." And for "long haulers," they can last for months.

RELATED: 7 Side Effects of Wearing a Face Mask



Sick man sleeps covered with a blanket lying in bed with high fever, resting at living room. He is exhausted and suffering from flu with cup of tea with lemon, medicaments. Influenza season.

1,567 People Surveyed Reported This Symptom

"A chronic disease, ME/CFS"—that's chronic fatigue syndrome—"can last for decades. It often takes root following some form of viral infection, for instance, Epstein-Barr virus or Ross River virus. The novel coronavirus is just one more virus that can potentially trigger the onset of this debilitating condition," reports CNN. "It's extraordinary how many people have a postviral syndrome that's very strikingly similar to myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease specialist.

If you experience any of these conditions, it may or may not be COVID-19—contact a medical professional immediately. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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