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Odd COVID Symptoms Doctors are Seeing Now

COVID-19 symptoms are getting stranger and stranger.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

It's been over two years since the start of the pandemic, and doctors are still discovering strange new COVID-19 symptoms in their patients. "The long duration and broad range of symptoms reminds us that the problem is not going away, and we need to do more to support and protect these patients in the long term," says Michele Spinicci, MD. "Future research should focus on the potential impacts of variants of concern and vaccination status on ongoing symptoms." Here are five odd COVID symptoms doctors are warning about. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.



Woman hands on his head felling headache dizzy sense of spinning dizziness with motion

Some patients have been experiencing frightening hallucinations as a result of COVID-19, doctors say. "While we wait for the hallucinations to go away, we give patients reassurance, tell them they're in a safe place and they're not losing their minds," says Eric B. Larson, clinical neuropsychologist at the Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton, Illinois. "Some patients are so scared by the memories of seeing things that were not real that they have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder."


Hearing Loss

Side view of senior man with symptom of hearing loss. Mature man sitting on couch with fingers near ear suffering pain.

A growing number of people are reporting hearing issues after being infected with COVID-19, with some suffering permanent hearing loss. "Our study showed evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 can directly infect the inner ear," says Stanford University otolaryngologist Konstantina Stankovic.


Anxiety and Depression

Thoughtful girl sitting on sill embracing knees looking at window, sad depressed teenager spending time alone at home, young upset pensive woman feeling lonely or frustrated thinking about problems

Doctors are noticing a severe uptick in the number of patients reporting anxiety and depression after getting COVID-19. "The information we have now about the impact of COVID-19 on the world's mental health is just the tip of the iceberg," says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "This is a wake-up call to all countries to pay more attention to mental health and do a better job of supporting their populations' mental health."

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Sexual Dysfunction

Sad man sitting on a bed, girlfriend in the background.

Research shows that men with COVID-19 are three times as likely to be diagnosed with erectile dysfunction compared to those who aren't sickened by the virus. "Erectile dysfunction can be a marker of overall health," says urologist Ryan Berglund, MD. "So particularly for young and healthy people who abruptly develop erectile dysfunction, and especially after having COVID-19, this can be a sign of something more serious going on. There have been studies showing that perhaps there are cardiovascular effects and other medical effects appearing from COVID-19, but the answer is that it's just too early to tell what exactly all of the long-term effects are. We know there are a number of different ways that the virus could cause erectile dysfunction, but much more research is needed before we know for sure."

RELATED: COVID Symptoms Usually Appear Like This


Brain Fog and Memory Loss

Annoyed frustrated male reading bad news on the cellphone

Brain fog and other neurological issues are particularly associated with long COVID, doctors warn. "In many cases, brain fog is temporary and gets better on its own," says Tamara Fong, MD, Ph.D. "However, we don't really understand why brain fog happens after COVID-19, or how long these symptoms are likely to last. But we do know that this form of brain fog can affect different aspects of cognition… People struggling with the effects of long COVID may have noticeable problems with attention, memory, and executive function. Studies report these issues both in people who were not hospitalized with COVID and in those who were, as well as in people who had severe cases. These findings raise some important questions about how COVID-19 infection affects cognition."

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How to Stay Safe Out There


Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, 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.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan