Sniffles, sneezing, fever mean no mingling for you until the symptoms pass, but what if you experience no symptoms and continue to join social gatherings, run errands and attend events?
While being asymptomatic, or without symptoms, with COVID-19 seems like the best way to endure a bout of the virus, it is also the most likely way people pass it along to others without knowing it. Lacking signals like symptoms, there are many people who have actually had the virus and don’t even know it.
“We are expecting a double hump that is going to happen in the next few months,” said Dr. Ulysses Wu, Hartford HealthCare’s System Director of Infection Disease and Chief Epidemiologist, of the converging impact of new COVID variants and the seasonal flu.
Short of testing, which isn’t the easiest thing to do these days with the shortage of test kits, it is nearly impossible to know if you’re infected with the virus unless there are symptoms. Even so, sniffling and coughing could result from the common cold and body aches from flu.
Here are some telling signs you might actually have had COVID-19:
- Symptoms lingered. A cold lasts a few days, but this virus can plague you for two weeks or more.
- Severe symptoms. Colds don’t typically bring a fever and breathing trouble. Shortness of breath lasts longer when caused by COVID than other conditions like anxiety. A persistent, dry cough that starts mildly and progressively worsens is a common sign of the virus.
- Eye trouble. COVID plagues the eyes, causing blurred vision, watering, redness and even pinkeye.
- Heart flutters. Episodes of rapid, fluttering or pounding heartbeats and/or tightness or pain in the chest can be connected to COVID.
- Exhaustion. Any illness drags us down physically and mentally, but COVID includes extreme fatigue that won’t improve with sleep.
- Sensory disruption. Loss of taste and/or smell affects about 80 percent of people with COVID, even those with the mildest cases. It might be the first clue you have had the virus.
- Stomach issues. Many have no respiratory signs of the virus but their gastrointestinal system bothers them instead.
If you have any of these symptoms, call your primary care provider or visit a COVID-19 testing site to be tested for the virus. If you had symptoms in the past, have an antibodies test to find traces of the proteins produced to fight off infection.
“This is a peace-of-mind kind of thing, which is important,” said Dr. Eric Walsh, medical director of Hartford HealthCare’s Go-Health Urgent Care centers, which offer antibody testing. “This has been a mentally taxing pandemic. Knowing if you had it or didn’t is very helpful.”