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15 Ways to Spot Coronavirus

Knowing these sure signs can save your life.

As we learn more about coronavirus, additional symptoms and side effects are uncovered every week. Even with the list of common symptoms created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it can be hard to tell if you have allergies, a cold, the flu, or if you've caught coronavirus. Take a look at these 15 ways to spot COVID-19 and add them to your list of symptoms to watch out for. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.


You Might Have Hair Loss

man with hair loss problem indoors

Hair loss isn't necessarily a presenting symptom of COVID-19 but if you had the virus, it may be a side effect. It's common to experience temporary hair loss when your system has dealt with a trauma, according to Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal, MD from the Cleveland Clinic. 

You could experience hair loss after "surgery, major physical or psychological trauma, any kind of infection or high fever, extreme weight loss, or a change in diet." The fever associated with COVID-19 and the extra effort your body put forth to fight off the virus may be what causes hair loss.


You Might Have Dizziness

Woman having headache migraine. Stress and depression.

Coronavirus affects your nervous system, which is in charge of keeping your body balanced, steady, and stable. While most COVID-19 patients present with common symptoms such as fever or cough, many also complain of dizziness while fighting the virus. 

"Neurological symptoms caused by COVID‐19 are diverse and complex," according to a study published in The Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians Open. The study authors also claim, "Non‐specific symptoms including headache, dizziness, vertigo, and paresthesia have been reported."


You Might Have Skin Rashes

Woman scratching arm indoors

Another symptom that's been found among COVID-19 patients is itchy skin or skin that develops rashes or lesions. A study published in JAMA Dermatology analyzed four coronavirus patients and the changes that occured in their skin. 

"The patients had skin findings of acral fixed livedo racemosa and retiform purpura," the study found. This means the coronavirus patients' skin was discolored and developed lesions, possibly from the effects the virus has on the circulatory system. So far, this symptom has only been reported in severe COVID-19 cases.


You Might Have Confusion

woman sitting on couch in living room at home with closed eyes, holding head with hand, suffering from strong sudden headache or migraine, throbbing pain

If you're feeling a little confused, it may be a symptom of COVID-19. The virus has been known to affect the brain, according to Dr. Robert Stevens, M.D. from John Hopkins University. Confusion may be a side effect of coronavirus due to low blood oxygen levels or other effects on the neurological system. Dr. Stevens estimates that "at least half of the patients I'm seeing in the COVID-19 units have neurological symptoms."


You Might Have Dry and Red Eyes


The eye problems associated with COVID-19 are more likely to occur in patients with severe cases of the virus. These eye-related symptoms may include "enlarged, red blood vessels, swollen eyelids, excessive watering and increased discharge," according to the Mayo Clinic. Some coronavirus patients also reported light sensitivity or general eye irritation.

RELATED: COVID Mistakes You Should Never Make


You Might Have Loss of Appetite

Displeased young woman doesn't want to eat her breakfast

Gastrointestinal symptoms are becoming more common among COVID-19 patients, with a loss of appetite being reported in addition to nausea or diarrhea. A study conducted by Stanford Medicine analyzed symptoms of 116 COVID-19 patients who were admitted to the hospital. The most common presenting symptom was a cough but the study found that "gastrointestinal symptoms were reported by 31.9% of patients" and 22.3% of these patients reported a loss of appetite.


You Might Have Low Blood Oxygen Levels

Young man having asthma attack at home

Some medical experts have found that COVID-19 patients are experiencing silent hypoxia. This occurs when the patient measures for a dangerously low blood oxygen level but doesn't experience shortness of breath. In most cases, patients originally sought treatment due to other more common symptoms, such as fatigue or cough. 

There are many theories as to why the virus causes these low blood oxygen levels without shortness of breath. "One theory is that the virus may affect the airways of the lungs as well as the blood vessels flowing through the lung," according to American Lung Association's Chief Medical Officer, Albert Rizzo, M.D.


You Might Have "COVID Toes"


COVID toes are described as "a painful or itchy skin rash that sometimes pops up in young adults with otherwise mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19," by the University of California San Francisco. Also commonly referred to as "chilblains," you can identify this foot condition with purple discoloration, dryness, or rash on the toes. 

COVID toes can also be splotchy or show up as red dots. Coronavirus patients who suffer from COVID toes report the condition as being painful and itchy, sometimes making it hard to walk.


You Might Have Abnormal Blood Clotting

Woman holding leg in pain

Abnormal blood clotting is a newly developed side effect that's been reported in some COVID-19 patients. A study published in Blood analyzed 400 COVID-patients who were hospitalized. It found that 10% of the patients experienced blood clotting and most of the cases were deep vein thrombosis. This condition occurs when a blood clot forms deep within the veins of your body, mainly your thighs or lower legs.


You Might Have Tightness in the Chest

Woman with face mask and chest pain sitting indoors at home

Shortness of breath is one of the CDC's main coronavirus symptoms but tightness in the chest may also need to be added to the list. Tightness in the chest may be caused by coronavirus attacking the respiratory system. 

"After gaining entry through either the nose or mouth, the virus travels to the chest and begins to cause injury to the respiratory system," according to Dr. Tim Connolly from Houston Methodist. Some COVID-19 patients fully recover from the damage to their airways while more severe cases may see long-term damage.


You Might Have Blurry Vision

woman over white with blurred vision and trouble focusing

When you get sick with a regular cold or flu, you may find your vision blurs due to the fever or effects the illness has on your nervous system. With COVID-19, some patients reported experiencing blurry vision, which may be a side effect of their immune system fighting off the virus. A study published in JAMA Ophthalmology analyzed 38 COVID-19 patients in China and found that 31.6% experienced some type of eye-related ailment while recovering from the virus.


You Might Have Cardiac Problems

Man With Heart Attack

Cardiac problems aren't related to COVID-19 as a presenting symptom, but the virus may cause damage to the heart and circulatory system in patients with severe cases. A study published in JAMA Cardiology examined 100 coronavirus patients who sought medical treatment for the virus. 

After studying the patients' cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging, the study found that 78 patients had some type of heart involvement and 68 had active cardiac inflammation. Study authors believe the virus may exacerbate underlying heart conditions and specific cardiac problems are related to the severity of the COVID-19 case.


You Might Have Muscle Weakness

female touching neck and shoulder in pain.

The CDC warns that muscle aches are a symptom of COVID-19 but many patients also report muscle weakness after contracting the virus. When your immune system is in full force, inflammation usually occurs in the body, which may be why muscle weakness is associated with COVID-19. Patients who are hospitalized for severe cases may experience "skeletal muscle injury due to the direct effects of the virus," according to a study published in Cureus.

RELATED: Everything Dr. Fauci Has Said About Coronavirus


You Might Have These Most Common Symptoms

Young man suffering from cold at his home

Throughout the pandemic, the CDC has been adding to the list of the most common symptoms. It seems the experts have narrowed it down to 11 common symptoms, which most infected individuals begin to feel two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. These symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Headache.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Sore throat.
  • Congestion or runny nose.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

These are the most common presenting symptoms and many individuals infected with COVID-19 experience one or more of these symptoms after exposure to the virus. However, these aren't the only symptoms you could experience if you catch COVID-19.


You Might Have No Symptoms at All

woman walking in park

While there are many common symptoms of COVID-19 that can help you spot the virus, keep in mind, some patients experience no symptoms at all. The CDC estimates that about 40% of people who are infected with the virus are asymptomatic at some point, which may be what's contributing to the quick and wide spread of infection. If you think you may have been exposed to the virus, it's best to get tested and self quarantine, even if you don't feel any symptoms. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

Kelly Hernandez
Kelly Hernandez is a health and wellness writer and certified personal trainer. Read more about Kelly