Representation of a virus

The Symptoms That Could Indicate That You Have Already Had COVID-19

Coronavirus leaves long-term sequelae that could signal that you have already had the virus

Representation of a virus
These COVID-19 symptoms can indicate that you've already had the virus | iStock

Coronavirus has been the absolute protagonist of our reality for almost a year now. Every day, we are aware of the number of infected people, deaths, new discoveries and vaccine processes.

It is impossible to go a whole day without hearing about the virus that has changed our lives. And with the restrictions and contagions, our daily lives have been completely affected.

Despite all the information about coronavirus and its symptoms, you might have had coronavirus without even knowing or you may have thought it was just another seasonal flu.

For the past few months, persistent COVID (or  long COVID) has been under investigation and we keep getting more and more information about it. These are symptoms that resist over time or may reappear after the patient has recovered. 

As we have been able to discover in 20minutos, research published by JAMA Network Open has published a study analyzing the long-term symptoms that people who have already had coronavirus may have.

In the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, more than 30% of participants had persistent symptoms for up to nine months after contracting COVID-19. This overall percentage increases to 43.3% for those over 65 years old.

Fatigue and loss of taste and smell

According to the study, in addition to being one of the most common symptoms, it is also one of the most persistent: Fatigue, loss of taste and smell appeared in 13.6% of the participants who had persistent symptoms. 

As reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Even people who are not hospitalized and have a mild illness may have persistent or delayed symptoms," and they also note that "studies are ongoing and will take several years to investigate further." 

Mental confusion

For their part, 13% explained for the study that they had suffered mental confusion. As reported by the Spanish media 20minutos, Dr. Allison Navis (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York) explained that this is a symptom, but not a diagnosis and that it does not affect everyone equally: "it is often a combination of problems with short-term memory, concentration or difficulty in expressing oneself".

This symptom was observed, above all, in young, healthy people who had a mild case of coronavirus. But this is not the only study focused on the symptoms of long COVID, there are many more.

In fact, in one conducted in Wuhan, more than 1,700 coronavirus patients were analyzed and, of them, 76% presented a symptom months after supposedly overcoming the virus. In addition to fatigue in 63%, 23% had difficulty sleeping.

In addition to these symptoms, anxiety and depression are also reported as psychological sequelae. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that depression is one of the persistent symptoms due to COVID. 

The most common long-term symptoms

The CDC highlights, on its website, which long-term symptoms are frequently reported:

  • Fatigue 
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Cough 
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain 

CDC also talks about other symptoms that, while not as common as the ones above, are also reported:

  • Difficulty in thinking and concentrating
  • Depression
  • Muscle pain 
  • Headache
  • On and off fever 
  • Fast or pounding heart 

For its part, the CDC also highlights more serious complications that may occur in the long term but are less common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that "it is not yet known what these long-term effects entail."

  • Cardiovascular. Inflamed cardiac muscle. 
  • Respiratory. Irregularities in the pulmonary function.
  • Renal. Acute renal lesions. 
  • Dermatological: hair loss or rashes. 
  • Neurological: problems with taste and smell, insomnia, memory problems... 
  • Psychiatric: depression, anxiety... 
The CDC also emphasizes that the best way to prevent these symptoms is to prevent the virus. Therefore, it is necessary to wear masks in public places, keep a safe distance, wash hands frequently and avoid large crowds, among other health recommendations.
[This is a translation of the original article "Los síntomas que podrían indicar que ya has tenido Covid-19" published in]