It seems like every day we learn something new about COVID-19, from the serious (a second wave may be on its way) to the bizarre (the pandemic may be to blame for your weird dreams). The latest update: There are more red flag symptoms than we thought, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The organization has officially added six more symptoms to its list.
The additions: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. These six symptoms join three that were already on the CDC's list — fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
There's been anecdotal evidence of some of these symptoms for weeks, particularly the loss of taste or smell. But now there's enough scientific evidence for the CDC to confirm they're warning signs of COVID-19. In an analysis looking at 579 people who had contracted the virus, 59% of them reported loss of taste and smell, according to research out of King’s College London.
Although we don't know exactly the cause of this particular side effect, it's most likely due to damage done to the nerve cells in the nose. “Think of it like how smoking or vaping can destroy the taste buds or sense of smell through direct irritation and damage to your mouth and nasal area,” Jill Grimes, MD, a board-certified family physician at UT Austin’s Student Health Services, previously told Refinery29.
The vast majority of those who contract the novel coronavirus will develop only mild symptoms or none at all, according to the CDC. Still, certain populations are more at risk than others of developing severe symptoms, and the virus is highly contagious. So it's important to continue to follow social distancing measures, and to wear a face covering if you must go out in public.
If you develop symptoms of coronavirus, the CDC recommends calling a medical provider for next steps rather than visiting a doctor's office or hospital in person. This is to prevent the spread of the disease, and to minimize the strain put on healthcare facilities. But if you experience any emergency warning signs, including trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, or bluish lips or face, you should seek medical attention immediately.
The CDC's Full List Of COVID-19 Symptoms
People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
Repeated shaking with chills
New loss of taste or smell
If you have any of these emergency warning signs for COVID-19, the CDC says to get medical attention immediately:
Persistant pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion or ability to arouse
Bluish lips or face
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.