Have you had coronavirus? 9 signs that you may have already caught it

coronavirus symptoms
(Image credit: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra)

Have you had Covid-19 without realising? Health experts now believe that many of us may have picked up the virus. Here are some of the main symptoms…

Have you experienced any of these coronavirus symptoms?

Coronavirus symptoms you need to know

1) Loss of taste and/or sense of smell

There are widespread reports of Covid-19 patients experiencing a temporary loss in their sense of taste and/or smell - called anosmia. In many cases this has been their only symptom.

Prof Nirmal Kumar, President of ENT UK says it’s no surprise that Covid-19 would cause these symptoms as viruses are well known to lead to a loss of taste and smell after infection. ‘Post-viral anosmia is one of the leading causes of loss of sense of smell in adults, accounting for up to 40 per cent cases of anosmia,’ he says.

2) A dry cough

This is one of the most recognisable Covid-19 symptoms. And one of only two symptoms actually listed by the NHS – the other being a high temperature. According to the NHS, a coronavirus cough develops as new and continuous, and usually means coughing persistently for over an hour, or three or more coughing fits within a 24-hour period. If you usually have a cough it may have become worse than normal. It will usually last for at least a day. If you have a fever or persistent dry cough you are advised to self isolate. For more advice on what to do visit nhs.co.uk or call NHS 111.

3) A high temperature

Temperatures above 37.7C (100F) are classed as a fever although temperature rises vary from person to person. The NHS website says you can tell if you have a fever if “you feel hot to the touch on your chest or back.”

Getty

New symptoms of Covid-19

Since the release of the first three official coronavirus symptoms, plenty of other potential coronavirus signs have been added to the list - so what other symptoms could be a sign of the virus?

4) Fatigue

This is a common symptom of upper respiratory tract viruses in general, such as colds and flu, as well as Covid-19. Coronavirus sufferers report feeling mentally impaired as well as physically exhausted, many reporting brain fog and problems concentrating, which can be made worse by problems sleeping because of coughs and feeling breathless.

5) Runny nose or congestion

Katrina Herren, chief clinical officer at Doctorlink, told Express.co.uk that a runny nose occurs in around 5% of people with COVID-19. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, in the US, has also added this to the list of potential coronavirus symptoms.

So if you've experienced a blocked nose or congestion in that area recently, it may be that you have had coronavirus - or, it could simply be the common cold or a flu, or even allergies or hayfever.

6) Red, watery eyes

Covid-19 patients may develop a red, watery eye during their illness, says Dr Clare O’Donnell, optometrist and head of research at leading eye hospital group Optegra. Although it appears to be one of the less common symptoms.

‘In a large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers documented “conjunctival congestion” in nine of 1,099 patients (that’s 0.8 per cent) with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from 30 hospitals across China,' she says

7) Aches and pains

Headaches and general aches and pains have been well documented as a symptom of Covid-19 but as with all viruses, it can be difficult to distinguish between the symptoms of coughs, colds and flu, and coronavirus.

8) Upset stomach (nausea) or diarrhoea

Loss of appetite, tummy ache and diarrhoea have all been suggested as possible warning signs of coronavirus.

Nausea has also been added to the CDC coronavirus symptoms list.

Recent research from the American Journal of Gastroenterology has linked digestive problems to those infected with Covid-19.

9) Feeling breathless

Covid-19 can infect your lungs and airways, so symptoms of moderate coronavirus infection often include feeling breathless and an increased heartrate. ‘The virus is known to block the airway and can be dangerous to those who suffer from respiratory problems, such as asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, such as bronchitis and emphysema),’ says Shyam Morjaria, pharmacist at online-pharmacy UK Meds. It can lead to severe Covid-19 and pneumonia – infection and inflammation of your lungs. This is much more likely if you are older or have any health conditions which raise your risk of complications, such as heart or lung disease or diabetes.

Of course, the only way to be sure that you either currently have or have had Covid-19 is to be tested - through a nose/throat swab test to see if you are currently infected.

Or, you could get a test for your Covid-19 immunity - which requires getting a blood test done, to see whether you have antibodies in your blood indicating that you have previously been infected.

For more advice on what to do if you're experiencing symptoms visit nhs.co.uk or call NHS 111.

Tanya Pearey has been a writer and editor in the health, fitness and lifestyle field for the past 25 years. She has a wealth of experience and a bulging contacts book of experts in the wellness field. She writes regularly for women’s lifestyle titles including Woman & Home, Woman’s Weekly, Woman and Woman’s Own. She has also written for newspapers including The Daily Mail and Daily Express, and women’s magazines in Australia where she spent a year working. She also writes regular travel pieces. Tanya is an avid runner - lover of Parkruns and half marathons. She completed the London Marathon in under four hours – but that was 20 years ago and she hasn’t been brave enough to run that far again since! She’s a keen tennis player and walker – having climbed Kilimanjaro and the UK’s three highest peaks - Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike.