4 Rare Symptoms Associated With COVID-19

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: May 13, 2020

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were told to be on the lookout for symptoms typically associated with a respiratory virus including fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. As we learn more about the coronavirus, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently updated its list of common COVID-19 symptoms to include chills accompanied by shaking, muscle pain, and sore throat. The CDC frequently updates its list of symptoms associated with COVID-19, as new information becomes available.

Now, beyond the common symptoms, the virus is also being linked to some rare symptoms that are capturing our attention including:
  1. “COVID Toe.”
    Some patients have reported a rash and swollen skin on their toes and the soles of their feet. The sores—which look like red or purple lesions--can itch or cause a burning sensation and can be extremely painful. Most cases of COVID Toe have been reported in younger patients, including children, teens, and young adults and are usually part of a mild or an otherwise asymptomatic infection. Some experts think the inflammation is a healthy immune response to the virus, and in most cases, the lesions disappear on their own in just a few weeks.
  2. Loss of taste or smell.
    This symptom is a reliable indicator of COVID-19 infection, even if it is the only symptom. A recent study found that 7 out of 10 patients lost their sense of taste or smell before diagnosis. While it is common, the good news for people with this symptom is they usually experience a milder form of the disease. After the illness resolves, sense of smell and taste do return in usually two to four weeks.
  3. “Pink Eye.”
    The American Academy of Ophthalmology has identified pink eye or Conjunctivitis as another rare symptom of COVID-19. Experts estimate it is very rare and develops in just 1-3% of patients. It is also not likely to be a stand-alone COVID symptom, so there’s no need to get tested for COVID-19 unless pink eye is accompanied by another common indicator such as a dry cough or fever.
  4. Headaches.
    According to a report compiled by the World Health Organization, approximately 13.6% of COVID-19 patients in China reported experiencing headaches. This neurological indicator was usually experienced in addition to the more common respiratory symptoms.

Most symptoms appear on average 5-6 days after a person is exposed to COVID-19, but can appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure. If you have emergency COVID-19 symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion, or blue lips, seek medical care immediately. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 can be found in more detail here.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of its publication. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving. We are working to keep our stories up-to-date as changes occur, but we also encourage everyone to check news and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and their local authorities.