COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, affects people in many ways. Early symptoms have included fever, cough and chills. The list of symptoms in people with confirmed COVID-19 disease has expanded since early reports of the disease. “We’re learning more about the virus and more about the syndrome that it causes as people have become infected with it,” says Dr. Stacey Rizza, a Mayo Clinic infectious disease specialist and researcher.
“The classic ones you’ll hear about are fever and any kind of respiratory symptoms, like shortness of breath or cough, or anything that involves the lungs,” says Dr. Rizza. “We also know that people are likely to express these receptors the virus needs to infect cells in the mouth, in the throat, and in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract. We have seen people get sore throat, some kinds of GI upset and sometimes diarrhea. We also know these receptors are expressed on the heart, and sometimes people get inflammation of the heart tissue itself and some chest pains. We’ve even had some people present with what they thought was a heart attack, and in fact, it was inflammation the heart tissue that was caused by the virus itself.”
COVID-19 symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea
- Skin changes or rash
- Inflammation of testis
“We also know that nerves can be infected, and can cause an alternation in smell or an alternation in taste. And some people have noticed some skin changes, although that has been a little less specific, says Dr. Rizza. “The vast majority of people will still have fever and some sort of respiratory symptom, and frequently achiness, like you have any kind of viral syndrome. But over time, we are seeing some of these additional symptoms. The other one that has been far less often but could be predicted from again where we see this receptor being expressed, is inflammation of the testis, or orchitis. We have seen some symptoms of that over time, as well.”
If you have emergency COVID-19 signs and symptoms, such as trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion, or blue lips or face, seek medical care immediately.