Extreme fatigue, leg pain, rashes. What are all the weird symptoms of COVID-19?

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A sign at the entrance of a Culver City business says if customers have a fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms, they should not enter. COVID-19 has a number of other symptoms too, like loss of taste and rashes. Photo by Amy Ta.

Nearly six months into the pandemic in the U.S., most people know the common symptoms of COVID-19. Fever, a cough and shortness of breath are all standard for a lot of diseases.

But COVID-19 also has weirder symptoms, including loss of taste, rashes on arms and torsos, blisters on hands and feet.

New York Times health columnist Tara Parker Pope and a team of reporters made a big interactive guide called “Could My Symptoms Be COVID-19?”

She says what’s important about COVID is that it can present in so many different combinations.

“You can get it as a respiratory illness. … You can get it as a stomach illness where your only symptoms are maybe nausea, other gastrointestinal symptoms. You can get it as just severe fatigue like you’ve never experienced before in your life,” says Tara Parker Pope. “Or you can get some weird combination of maybe a little dizziness and a sore throat, maybe pink eye or watery eyes and a stomachache. Some people get tightness in their chest.” 

This virus can also get into blood vessels and go throughout the human body. Pope says that can cause blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, or comatose. 

She also wrote about one New York-based cyclist who had to go to the emergency room and have surgery after having leg pain. 

“She was having leg pain. A doctor had thought it was maybe a back problem. … She got a second opinion and that doctor … had her press her hands down her calves, and she said, ‘Oh that really hurts.’ And he said, ‘You need to get to the ER right now.’”

At the ER, Pope says physicians couldn’t find a pulse in the patient, who was a recovering COVID patient and went into surgery. “She was there for nine hours, she almost lost her legs. But she’s back on the bike. The doctor caught it early enough.”

Pope advises that if your body feels weird, just talk to a doctor. “This disease can do all kinds of strange things to our bodies.” 

— Written by Amy Ta, produced by Angie Perrin