explainer

From persistent hiccups to 'COVID Toe': The 4 unusual symptoms of COVID-19.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in late 2019, there was a small list of symptoms to indicate whether you had contracted the virus. But now, with over 20 million people having tested positive for the coronavirus, the list of potential symptoms has grown dramatically.

WATCH: The simple ways to protect yourself against coronavirus. Post continues below.


Video via The World Health Organisation

From the unusual, less likely symptoms to the common symptoms to look out for, here's what you need to know.

The unusual symptoms of coronavirus

While we've been told to look out for common flu-like symptoms, University of Sydney infectious diseases expert Robert Booy explained to The Sydney Morning Herald that there are some more unusual symptoms that might suggest you have contracted the virus.

"It only happens in a small minority of people, but it is an important percentage because it is debilitating. There is an intense inflammatory reaction that can suddenly become quite severe," he said.

"It’s essentially the body trying its hardest to respond to this nasty, unfamiliar, viral infection, but at the same time the intense inflammation can lead to things like a rash, swollen and inflamed fingers and toes as the body tries to control the virus."

The rash appears like blotchy, irritated skin, and has been noted in countries like Italy, Spain and Britain, who were hit hard by the virus earlier this year. This symptom, which was noticed in one out of 11 coronavirus patients in Britain, is now being pushed to be included in the National Health Service's official list of coronavirus symptoms.

There are some unusual symptoms to coronavirus. Image: Getty. 

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Similarly, Dr. Lindy Fox, a dermatologist who practices at the University of California, explained that 'COVID Toe' is the latest telltale sign of the coronavirus infection. The symptom begins with swollen, red toes that have visible lesions or bumps. Over time, those lesions turn purple.

However, this symptom might be a good sign.

"The good news is that the chilblain-like lesions usually mean you're going to be fine," Dr. Fox told The New York Times"Usually it's a good sign your body has seen COVID and is making a good immune reaction to it."

Another unusual symptom of the virus is rash-like mouth lesions. Spanish researchers found that six confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Ramon y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid had this strange symptom. 

A new study from the American Journal of Emergency Medicine has also recognised a peculiar symptom: persistent hiccups. 

The report came after a 62-year-old patient from Chicago was experiencing constant hiccups when he went to hospital and was tested for COVID-19 despite not having a fever or sore throat. He tested positive, surprising doctors and leading researchers.

"To our knowledge, this is the first case report of persistent hiccups as the presenting complaint in a COVID-19 positive patient in emergency medicine literature," the report states. "An emergency medicine physician should keep COVID-19 on the differential and be vigilant of exposure in atypical presentations."

It has also been noted that some 'recovered' coronavirus patients experience long-term symptoms. This includes blood-clot complications and long-lasting heart and lung damage.

The more common symptoms of coronavirus

Other symptoms that you might experience if you've contracted the virus include a temperature, fatigue, sore throat, shortness of breath, muscle ache and pains. 

Sometimes that can also include a runny nose and nausea.

Listen to The Quicky, Mamamia's daily news podcast. In this episode, host Gemma Bath discusses contract tracing COVID-19. Post continues below.

The 'normal' symptoms of coronavirus

"The most common symptoms that people will get are fever and a cough," Dr. Senanayake, an infectious diseases physician and Associate Professor at the Australian National University Medical School told Mamamia. 

But remember, if you contract coronavirus, it might take a few days before you experience any of the symptoms discussed above. 

"On average, after you’ve been infected, it takes about five to six days for symptoms to appear, but that could be anything as short as one day and up to 14 days," said Dr. Senanayake.

Some people who contract the virus are asymptomatic, meaning they will experience no symptoms at all. 

Feature image: Getty.

This article was originally published on July 24, 2020, and was updated on August 10, 2020. 


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