Roughly 81% of people infected with COVID-19 will experience symptoms considered to be mild to moderate that fully resolve at home. With that said, you may feel truly awful during this time which generally lasts up to 14 days with fluctuating symptoms. Many describe an overwhelming feeling of being rundown, whole body aches and pains, gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea or nausea, and fevers that can go up and down, but tend to climb quite high. Others say they feel “beat up” with “weird” symptoms that may include loss of taste and smell and lack of appetite. Some additional COVID-19 symptoms include headache, cough and sore throat. It’s important to note that while fever is considered a hallmark of the virus, it is not present in everyone infected.
Cough, too, happens in most (roughly 2 out of 3) but not all people with COVID-19. Shortness of breath is often an indicator that the condition is progressing from mild or moderate to severe; you should be seen and tested.
Jill shares her story and explains how she felt.
Fever and/ or chills
67% (range 59%-82%)
Shortness of Breath
Muscle aches and pains
Loss of smell and/or taste; loss of appetite
Stomach symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
About 14% of people who contract COVID-19 develop serious symptoms that require hospitalization and for the remaining 5%, COVID-19 becomes life threatening. We (i.e. the medical community) are still learning much about the symptoms and risks for COVID-19 and its complications that can include severe shortness of breath, heart inflammation, and the potential need for a respiratory machine (called mechanical ventilator) to support breathing.
For example, Jonny never knew that he had COVID-19 until unusual bruises appeared on his toes.
Known now as COVID-toes, this happens from inflammation of the small blood vessels in the skin, called chilblains or pernio. Jonny says he feels no pain but has had some mild itching. Because this unexpected finding is fairly common — in conjunction with other COVID symptoms, as part of a post-viral syndrome, or the one and only manifestation of the virus – an international registry has been set up by a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. To date, patients from 21 countries have reported COVID-toes specifically. Dr. Esther Freeman reports that there are many other skin manifestations being reported including hives and measle-like rashes.
*Most data to date have suggested that males are at higher risk for complications from COVID-19 than females; however, recent data from Massachusetts specifically suggests the opposite in that state. More needs to be understood before drawing definitive conclusions either way.