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You’ve Got COVID And You Don’t Even Know It: Seven Signs to Look For

January 10, 2022

Sniffles, sneezing, fever mean no mingling for you until the symptoms pass, but what if you experience no symptoms and continue to join social gatherings, run errands and attend events?

Although being asymptomatic, or without symptoms, with COVID-19 seems like the best way to endure a bout of the virus, it is also the most likely way people pass it along to others without knowing it. Lacking signals like symptoms, there are many people who have actually had the virus and don’t even know it.

“Although testing is helpful to confirm infection, if you think you could be infected, act like you are.  By this I mean to quarantine till you have no symptoms/minimal symptoms and a negative test after 5 days of symptoms or exposure” said Dr. William Horgan, Regional Medical Director of Quality & Safety Emergency Medicine in Hartford HealthCare’s East Region.

Short of testing, which isn’t the easiest thing to do these days with the shortage of test kits, it is nearly impossible to know if you’re infected with the virus unless there are symptoms. Even so, sniffling and coughing could result from the common cold and body aches from flu.

Many of these symptoms are not significant or concerning to most, but knowing that they could be due to COVID should make you concerned that not only will you potentially get sicker, but you also may be actively spreading it to those around you. The key to ensuring your safety as well as those around you is to get vaccinated, get the booster, wear your mask, and continue to social distance. Many who are getting infected claim that those they were around were not sick.  Sadly, knowing if someone has COVID is not that simple.

“If you think you have it, getting a test immediately may not be helpful because it could be falsely negative, especially with some of the available rapid home tests,” said Dr. Hogan. “Just remember that if it was easy to recognize who has COVID-19, it would be markedly easier to avoid contact with them and getting COVID. So being diligent in wearing your mask, social distancing, getting vaccinated and the booster is the key to truly avoiding COVID-19.”

Mild symptoms or no symptoms at all for some with COVID-19 make them the super spreaders. If you have any of these symptoms, quarantine yourself and inform those you may have been in contact with that you may have COVID such that they do not spread it as well.

Here are some telling signs you might actually have had COVID-19:

  • Symptoms lingered. A cold lasts a few days, but this virus can plague you for two weeks or more.
  • Severe symptoms. Colds don’t typically bring a fever and breathing trouble. Shortness of breath lasts longer when caused by COVID than other conditions like anxiety. A persistent, dry cough that starts mildly and progressively worsens is a common sign of the virus.
  • Eye trouble. COVID plagues the eyes, causing blurred vision, watering, redness and even pinkeye.
  • Heart flutters. Episodes of rapid, fluttering or pounding heartbeats and/or tightness or pain in the chest can be connected to COVID.
  • Exhaustion. Any illness drags us down physically and mentally, but COVID includes extreme fatigue that won’t improve with sleep.
  • Sensory disruption. Loss of taste and/or smell affects about 80 percent of people with COVID, even those with the mildest cases. It might be the first clue you have had the virus.
  • Stomach issues. Many have no respiratory signs of the virus but their gastrointestinal system bothers them instead.

If you have any of these symptoms, call your primary care provider or visit a COVID-19 testing site. If you had symptoms in the past, have an antibodies test to find traces of the proteins produced to fight off infection.