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You Might Have Missed Them! Signs You Already Had COVID-19

Medically reviewed by Michael Henry Wanat · Respiratory Therapy

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Apr 20, 2022

You Might Have Missed Them! Signs You Already Had COVID-19

Remember a time in the office or school when many of your colleagues and classmates work and study while battling bouts of coughing and sneezing? Some even go out with a low-grade fever because they are still capable of doing things. Now, though, you wonder if the cough, body aches, and fever you experience are actually symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection. In this article, we’ll talk about the signs you already had COVID-19. 

1. You Experienced the Common Symptoms of Respiratory Infection AFTER Being in Close Contact With a COVID-Positive Person

Signs you already had COVID-19 include experiencing common symptoms of a respiratory infection, especially after you spent time with COVID-positive patients. 

These symptoms include:

  • Fever, which sometimes happens with chills
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Shortness of breath

Note that for healthcare professionals, experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing is a sign you need to seek medical help. 

In COVID-19, difficulty breathing typically doesn’t appear immediately. It usually happens anytime from days 5 through 10 (sometimes longer). 

2. You Lost Your Sense of Smell and Taste

We cannot call it a hallmark of symptoms, but there’s no doubt that many people who contracted COVID-19 lost their senses of smell and taste

Case in point, one paper that analyzed data from more than 8,000 COVID-positive individuals mentioned that 41% lost their senses of smell and taste. 

Note that losing your senses of smell and taste can also happen with other respiratory infections. But if it’s COVID-19, you have several clues, including:

  • Losing your sense of smell suddenly
  • Only experiencing loss of smell and taste. That means you don’t have other symptoms of respiratory infections. 

Please keep in mind that the COVID-related loss of smell and taste may last anywhere from a few days to months. 

3. You Had Diarrhea Along With Your Flu-Like Symptoms

Diarrhea or loose bowel movement is a common symptom, mainly if you ate something that irritated your gastrointestinal tract or contracted an infection, such as gastroenteritis

However, it can also be one of the signs you already had COVID-19, primarily if it occurred with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, sore throat, headache, fatigue, body aches, coughing, and loss of smell and taste. 

Finally, note that besides diarrhea, someone who had COVID may also experience other gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. There are also reports saying some COVID patients experienced nothing else but gastrointestinal symptoms. 

4. You Have Lingering Cough or Fatigue or Both

We might feel like COVID has affected us for a very long time now, but the reality of it is that it’s still a new disease. That’s why scientists are still studying its long-term effects. 

The US CDC reported that 43% of people who contracted COVID experienced persistent cough (usually dry or without phlegm) 14 to 21 days after testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. Meanwhile, 35% of the participants also experienced lingering fatigue. 

5. Among Your Symptoms, You Experienced Fever First

Did you recently experience flu-like symptoms and worry that you’ve had COVID? According to a report, COVID symptoms have a distinct pattern. 

Researchers compared data of 55,5000 COVID-positive patients and 2,000 individuals with flu. They found out that COVID typically starts with fever, while flu usually starts with cough

The Best Way To Find Out

Even if we list all the possible signs you already had COVID-19, remember that the best way to determine if you contracted SARS-CoV-2 is to undergo testing. Isolate yourself if you suspect COVID-19. Afterward, contact your municipality’s health unit to talk about testing. Other alternatives include going to drive-thru testing centers or availing of home service testing. The important thing is to know exactly what you’re dealing with. 

Learn more about Coronavirus here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Michael Henry Wanat

Respiratory Therapy

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Apr 20, 2022

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