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Johns Hopkins reveals the earliest signs you have a coronavirus infection

Published Jan 2nd, 2021 9:01AM EST
Coronavirus Symptoms Early
Image: Fabian/Adobe

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  • The coronavirus is still surging across the U.S. Experts warn that January could might the worst month of the entire pandemic.
  • Some of the earliest signs of a coronavirus infection include fatigue, headache, sore throat, fever, and the loss of taste and smell.
  • If you suspect you have COVID, you should see a doctor or get tested as soon as possible. Home-testing kits can be ordered online from Walmart.

As the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly across the U.S., the grim reality is that we’re not anywhere close to putting the pandemic behind us. If anything, many health experts believe that January could be the worst month of the entire pandemic on account of Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations.

In light of that, now is a good time to revisit some of the symptoms most commonly associated with a coronavirus infection. A clear understanding of how the coronavirus manifests is essential given that many COVID-19 symptoms can mirror what one would typically experience with the flu.

The full list of coronavirus symptoms, per the CDC, has eleven entries. That said, there are a handful of symptoms that tend to arise earlier than most.

As detailed by Johns Hopkins, early coronavirus symptoms to be on the lookout for include fatigue, headache, sore throat, fever, and the sudden loss of taste and smell. It’s important to remember, though, that not all of these symptoms tend to show up at the same time, or at all. For instance, it’s possible that someone with the coronavirus could have a cough, a low-grade fever, and no other symptoms.

In some instances, researchers have observed that fever and fatigue tend to manifest before the others. Still, symptoms can vary wildly from person to person which is why it’s important to get tested or see a doctor if you suspect you might have the coronavirus. This is especially important because symptoms that appear mild at first can quickly become severe over the course of a few days.

The full range of COVID symptoms is as follows:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Despite its similarity to the flu, COVID-19 is a particularly nasty virus that can wreak havoc on a person’s body for weeks and even months after an initial diagnosis. Sadly, many people who come down with the coronavirus tend to experience symptoms that simply don’t go away with time. While some patients battle with fatigue and a persistent inability to taste or smell, the coronavirus can also impact a person’s cognitive abilities.

One research study that looked at 84,000 individuals found that people who had COVID-19 “perform worse on cognitive tests in multiple domains than would be expected given their detailed age and demographic profiles.”

Some of the cognitive deficits observed in coronavirus survivors include memory loss, trouble concentrating for sustained periods of time, and even slight personality changes. In more severe cases where a coronavirus patient requires hospitalization, the study found that the subsequent cognitive impact is equivalent to an 8.5 point decline in IQ.

Until enough people get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity — which may not happen until June — it’s as important as ever to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, which is to say everyone should wear masks, adhere to social distancing guidelines, avoid indoor gatherings, and maintain proper hygiene.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.