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November 18, 2020

Unusual COVID-19 Symptoms to be Aware of

Fever, cough, shortness of breath. These are COVID-19 symptoms you’re likely aware of, however, as we learn more about the virus, additional unusual symptoms have come to light, which experts say, shows that COVID-19 is more than just a respiratory illness.

Here are some of the more unusual COVID-19 symptoms you may not know.


Some people who have COVID-19, but don’t experience the telltale symptoms, may experience an inflammatory rash on their toes. This rash can cause the toes — and sometimes fingers — to swell, burn and itch and turn red or purple. 

Experts estimate that COVID toes may last anywhere from 10 to 14 days, but the American Academy of Dermatology notes that it could last for months. If you experience COVID toes, you can try a hydrocortisone cream to lessen pain and itching, but if symptoms persist or worsen, you should see a dermatologist. It’s important to note that if you experience COVID toes or any other skin rash (COVID-19 can cause these, too) to contact your doctor and see if you need to be tested.

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

COVID-19 can affect the gastrointestinal tract, too. Many patients report either experiencing nausea, diarrhea or loss of appetite. Experts note that these GI symptoms can be indicators of a COVID-19 infection even in the absence of the traditional symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath. 

Experts also point out that the virus can infect the cells that line the GI tract, and GI symptoms can also be a result of your body’s attempt to fight the virus as well. If you’re diagnosed as COVID-19 positive, you should isolate yourself and ideally have your own bathroom. 

Confusion and Other Neurological Symptoms

Confusion can be a common symptom in older adults, especially those with severe infections. Cognitive symptoms, especially in older adults, can be overlooked as stroke or dementia, so it’s important to test for COVID-19 in those who are experiencing sudden cognitive symptoms, say experts. 

In addition to confusion, some COVID-19 patients have reported experiencing mild to severe hallucinations. Experts theorize hallucination may occur as a result of delirium that can accompany severe disease or because of low levels of oxygen going to the brain. The good news is that this symptom appears to fade as the infection abates. 

If you’re concerned about any COVID-19 symptoms, contact your doctor.

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