As the pandemic rages on, the symptoms of the coronavirus only seem to get weirder and more varied. This isn’t an average bug; that much is for sure. Reports are coming in detailing all sorts of terrifying and bizarre new symptoms, leaving some people wondering what to expect next. And the list only continues to grow. Here are some of the other COVID-19 symptoms you may not have heard of.
One of the most troubling new symptoms to pop up has been blood clots, which are causing pulmonary embolisms and strokes even in young, otherwise healthy people. Other people fighting COVID-19 are experiencing multi-organ failure related to blood clots. The problem could be the result of several related issues, including inflammation, lengthy periods in bed and changes to the blood’s coagulation levels. For this reason, treatment with anticoagulants could prevent some of the more dangerous complications beyond acute respiratory distress.
Issues are beginning to crop up in children now, as well. First spotted in England, this bizarre set of symptoms resembles Kawasaki disease with features of toxic shock, causing leaky blood vessels, which can lead to low blood pressure, fluid in the lungs and multi-organ shutdown. This is now showing up in US children, according to a CNN report. The condition has been dubbed “pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.” Symptoms to watch out for include bloodshot eyes, swelling in the extremities, swollen neck glands and dry, cracked lips. This condition is most likely to hit children younger than 5.
Possibly related to clotting issues, “COVID toes” are just starting to arise as a sign of infection. NPR reports that this symptom can look and feel a lot like frostbite, causing redness, swelling and burning sensations. It occurs most commonly on the feet, but it can also affect the hands. Many people have presented with "COVID toes" during their illness, but it can also occur after the patient appears to have recovered. Some people may have this as their only symptom of infection, and it could affect up to 19% of patients who see skin involvement.
Many viral illnesses can cause skin rashes, so it’s no surprise that COVID-19 can do the same. However, there seem to be multiple rashes that can occur with this virus. Based on their studies, researchers have determined the most common are maculopapular eruptions, occurring in 47% of affected patients. An estimated 19% develop hives, while another 9% experience blisters and 6% develop necrotic lesions. Knowledge of these unusual manifestations may help identify some atypical cases so it's definitely worth paying attention to.
Researchers are beginning to realize how common and varied the neurological manifestations of COVID-19 can be. They estimate that around 36.4% of people who become infected develop at least one neurological manifestation, and these symptoms can arise from both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Milder symptoms include dizziness, headache and nerve pain.
More severe manifestations can include loss of taste and smell, impaired consciousness, intoxicated appearance, acute cerebrovascular disease and even seizures. According to Kaiser Health News, older seniors could be more prone to this type of involvement, with infections often presenting as confusion, delirium, fatigue and low blood pressure. Some patients may faint. These illnesses may be overlooked because seniors don’t always have a fever response, and lung involvement isn’t always noticeable until the patient goes into respiratory distress.
Up to half of those who contract COVID-19 may experience gastrointestinal (GI) issues. The most common of these are appetite loss, followed by diarrhea. Some people may also experience abdominal pain and vomiting. People with GI involvement appear to be at a higher risk of altered blood chemistry, with longer-lasting coagulation and liver issues. In some rare cases, patients experience GI involvement without developing any kind of lung infection.
COVID-19 has proven itself a tricky virus, surprising all of us at virtually every turn. Hopefully, the more research uncovers about the infection, the more doctors will be able to help patients reduce their severity of the disease. It seems they may need to finish tallying up the symptom list first, though.
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