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Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID, According to the CDC

These severe symptoms are signs that you may be a Long Hauler, says the agency.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

We were once told COVID would "just disappear." For many Long Haulers, this is a bitter joke. They got COVID and still suffer debilitating symptoms, like fatigue, brain fog or shortness of breath, for months after—possibly years, possibly a lifetime. Even worse, "serious long-term complications…have been reported," reports the CDC. "These have been noted to affect different organ systems in the body." Read on to learn more about these severest of Long Hauler symptoms to see if you have them—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


You May Have Cardiovascular Symptoms

Man With Heart Attack

This can include an "inflammation of the heart muscle," warns the CDC. "There are three main types of heart inflammation: endocarditis, myocarditis, and pericarditis," says the National Institute of Health. "Endocarditis is inflammation of the inner lining of the heart's chambers and valves. Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle. Pericarditis is inflammation of the tissue that forms a sac around the heart." "You may have different signs and symptoms depending on the type and severity of the heart inflammation that you have," they continue. "Complications may include an arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, and heart failure."


You May Have Respiratory Symptoms

Pretty brunette coughing on couch at home in the living-room.

The CDC warns of "lung function abnormalities." For example, "some patients who have been seriously ill from COVID-19 develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which can permanently scar their lungs," reports UC Davis Health. "But it's not clear if there is any scarring for long-haulers who have respiratory issues but not at the severe level of ARDS." Many Long Haulers have shortness of breath.


You May Have Renal Issues

Woman suffering from pain kidney disease while sitting on bed at home.

Like "acute kidney injury," says the CDC. "Acute kidney failure occurs when your kidneys suddenly become unable to filter waste products from your blood," reports the Mayo Clinic. "When your kidneys lose their filtering ability, dangerous levels of wastes may accumulate, and your blood's chemical makeup may get out of balance."


You May Have Dermatologic Symptoms

These dermatologic symptoms can include "rash, hair loss," says the CDC. Long Haulers have complained of skin peeling or violent rashes. Actress Alyssa Milano, a Long Hauler, lost her hair and says: "It's hard, especially when you're an actor and so much of your identity is wrapped up in those things like having long silky hair and clean skin."


You May Have Neurological Symptoms

Tired mature woman take off glasses suffering from headache

These can include "smell and taste problems, sleep issues, difficulty with concentration, memory problems," says the CDC. Some Long Haulers are finding their sense of smell or test may never come back. Others forget where they left their car keys. Sleep is interrupted by vivid dreams or nightmares.


You May Have Psychiatric Problems

Depressed young woman sitting on floor at home

"Depression, anxiety, changes in mood" are symptoms sone Long Haulers suffer. This is natural, since many previously healthy people are now bed-bound or unable to walk their dog, with no end in sight—but the psychiatric problems may also be neurological, as the brain chemistry is impacted.

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The More Common Long COVID Symptoms

Senior woman suffering from pain in hand at home.

The list you have just read is of severe Long Hauler symptoms. According to the CDC, "the most commonly reported long-term symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain

Other reported long-term symptoms include:

  • Difficulty with thinking and concentration (sometimes referred to as 'brain fog')
  • Depression
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Intermittent fever
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)"

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact a medical professional immediately. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek