Unusual symptoms of COVID-19
More than 100 million infections with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have already been registered worldwide. Infections with the virus often cause symptoms such as coughs and fever. But there are also some unusual symptoms that many people are not familiar with.
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease COVID-19 caused by the pathogen have kept the world in suspense for over a year. Most people know that an infection with the pathogen can lead to symptoms such as fever or headache. But there are also some unusual symptoms reported by an expert in a post by the renowned Cleveland Clinic (USA).
We now know the symptoms of COVID-19 to watch out for:
- Fever or chills
- to cough
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body pain
- a headache
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
In addition to these common complaints, there are also some that are less well known. For example, COVID toes and rashes, pink eyes and loss of appetite were reported during the pandemic. According to the pulmonary and intensive care doctor Dr. Joseph Khabbaza, some of these reactions are quite normal, while the medical community is still learning about other symptoms.
Very different reactions
“In relation to COVID, nothing is really off the table. I always get messages from people asking if something they are experiencing is normal. Well, there is nothing that is really unusual about COVID – literally almost anything goes and we don’t know exactly why, ”said Dr. Khabbaza.
The intensive care doctor explains that two people who appear to be similar on paper can react completely differently to COVID-19. Regarding unusual symptoms of the virus, he says the following have come up frequently:
Brain fog, confusion, hallucinations, or delirium
Dr. Khabbaza reports that he noticed these symptoms quite often. The medical community has yet to figure out what causes brain fog, but it is believed that this is likely due to the body’s immune response to the virus or to inflammation throughout the nervous system and the blood vessels leading to the brain.
According to the medic, brain fog is “a kind of mental cloudiness – as if you were dazed”. The condition is mainly registered in the case of mild disease courses, but in some cases also in patients in intensive care units.
Hallucinations and confusion are common with all types of serious illness. According to Dr. Khabbaza is a very common source of confusion in the elderly as the body tries to fight off an infection.
People with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit sometimes suffer from really bad delirium. This can worsen during a hospital stay if people do not sleep normally or are in pain. Some drugs that are used on ventilated patients can even make the delirium worse.
Increased heart rate and temperature
Dr. Khabbaza says he saw people’s heart rates skyrocket after minimal activity shortly after becoming infected. Together with an increased temperature, this is a consequence of an autonomic dysfunction.
“We see this more and more often. When it occurs, our immune system attacks the autonomic nervous system – that is, nerves that regulate heart rate and temperature, among other things. In this case, the heart rate is not regulated. As soon as you lose that balance, you can have a super high heart rate or high temperature for no reason, ”explains the medic.
The skin is the largest organ in the body and therefore has the largest number of blood vessels. Dr. Khabbaza explains that skin irritation, such as rashes or discoloration, is not uncommon when there is a viral infection or autoimmune disease.
If the blood is too thick or tiny blood clots form in the vessels, this can sometimes lead to changes in the appearance of the skin.
While skin irritation isn’t as common, according to Dr. Khabbaza is still something the medical community is trying to understand in the fight against COVID-19.
Malfunction of the vocal cords and loss of taste or smell
Loss of taste or smell has been associated with COVID-19. Although these symptoms are alarming, according to Dr. Khabbaza do not panic if these occur.
“When this happens, these senses just don’t function normally. Nerves can be inflamed or secondarily irritated by our own immune system. But in time we should be able to use them again. “
Vocal cord malfunction can occur when the nerves in the vocal cords are not functioning normally. Often this can be due to upper respiratory tract infections, causing hoarseness or difficulty speaking, shortness of breath, or difficulty swallowing.
Dr. Khabbaza says this is mainly related to the vagus nerve being irritated and not functioning normally. This is the nerve that regulates digestion, heart rate, breathing rate, and reflex actions such as coughing, sneezing, and swallowing.
Symptoms of vocal cord disorder, especially those following a viral infection, are often confused with post-viral asthma at first, but symptoms often do not improve with the use of inhalers.
Get medical help if necessary
Dr. Khabbaza says that the appearance of any of these strange or unusual COVID-19 symptoms does not automatically cause panic. However, if this affects your ability to perform daily activities, it is better to tell your doctor sooner rather than later.
“Most things will take their course and should improve gradually, but it can be a very slow process. If something that happens seriously interferes with your daily life, your doctor needs to know about it, ”says the pulmonologist.
“If your heart rate climbs to 170 while walking down the hall, it affects your ability to do something. So this is something that needs immediate attention. If a symptom is affecting your ability to work or your ability to carry out your normal daily activities, tell your doctor, ”he said.
“Intervention may not always be possible, but COVID changes every day. We learn more every day. If you have difficulties, you should always make sure that your doctor is informed about everything. “(Ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
- Cleveland Clinic: 10 Unusual Symptoms of COVID-19, (Abruf: 02.02.2021), Cleveland Clinic
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.