The news has inundated viewers with the symptoms of COVID-19 since it was first diagnosed on American soil. However, recently the coronavirus appears to have changed and there are new symptoms emerging.
Symptoms for COVID-19 tend to emerge within two to 14 days after exposure. The standard symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
The Northwestern Medicine article that appears in the Annals of Neurology announced that COVID-19 is causing new neurological symptoms before the respiratory problems ever make an appearance. It is believed that the virus has already started to cause damage within the body before the typical symptoms are even noticed.
9. Mental Alterations
An altered mental state has been noted incredibly early in many patients who are diagnosed with COVID-19. A loss of smell and taste, changes in mental status, and stroke have all been reported, according to Yale Medicine neurologist and Division Chief of Neurological Infections & Global Neurology Serena Spudich, MD.
In JAMA Neurology, Spudich wrote, “The characteristics of these and other more rare neurological manifestations suggest a range of causes that may differ by symptoms and even between patients.”
8. Brain Inflammation
The neurons of the brain appear to swell in response to the virus. Many theorize that this is due to the inflammation caused by the body’s own immune system as it tries to combat the virus. The brain inflammation leads to headaches and could cause a stroke.
The headache caused by brain inflammation is usually very severe and prolonged. The pain level is far more intense than a headache brought on from the fever and cold-like symptoms that typically have accompanied the virus.
Elderly patients and others have reported feeling dizzy and experiencing balance problems. Many may fall after they develop a fever or exhibit other physical symptoms. Dizziness appears as a newer neurological symptom reported by the CDC.
In some cases, the balance issues may have a relationship with the other generalized symptoms of the illness and occur because of physical weakness, but neurological involvement also appears to stand out as a leading cause.
6. Difficulty Concentrating
Moderate to severe COVID-19 sufferers have noted a difficulty in concentrating coupled with severe fatigue. In extreme cases, they feel sleepy and confused. Hospitalized patients often have a difficult time waking up after they are given sedating medications. Luckily, patients who recover rarely have lasting confusion.
5. Loss of Smell and Taste
Worldwide, sufferers of COVID-19 have reported a loss of taste and smell. At this time, the exact cause remains unknown, but many researchers theorize that the nerves and certain regions of the brain become inflamed when afflicted by the virus. In many patients, it can take weeks or months to recover their senses.Related: 15 Subtle Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus
In some cases, seizures have become the first symptom of coronavirus for certain people. The symptom tends to occur in patients who have previously had seizures or missed their medications, which increases their seizure activity and frequency.
Clearly, seizures appear to be a symptom only in patients who fit certain criteria. However, some patients who suffer a seizure have no history of the disorder and appear to sustain one as a direct result of the virus and inflammation within the brain.
Strokes have rapidly become a profoundly serious complication of COVID-19 that often causes long-term effects such as loss of speech, paralysis, or cognitive decline. In most cases, a stroke occurs in patients who have a history of high blood pressure or are elderly, but younger patients with no underlying risks have also suffered strokes while combating COVID-19
People with inflammation of the blood vessels, blood clotting abnormalities, and those who are severely ill are at an increased risk of stroke. Changes in blood oxygen levels and blood circulation also lead to stroke.
Some patients suffer a stroke a month or more after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Although the virus may have resolved, the stroke can leave behind lasting, long-term damage
2. Muscle Pain, Numbness, and Weaknesses
Severe weakness in the arms and legs plus aching and muscle pain have all been noted. It is believed that the symptoms are caused by the virus breaking down the proteins found in the blood. Many note a burning sensation or loss of feeling on their skin’s surface, which is related to abnormalities that form in the nerves which carry the body’s information to the brain and spinal cord.
The body’s own immune system starts to attack the nerves and muscles, which leads to a wide range of cellular damage and symptoms. In many cases, the problems that arise might prove to be permanent.
1. How to Stay Healthy
The new symptoms of COVID-19 are scary, but you can take steps to remain healthy.
- Avoid large crowds
- Wear a face covering
- Use hand sanitizer
- Wash hands with soap and water
- Stay home as much as possible