The CDC just added new COVID-19 symptoms to its list. Here's our running list of every symptom, ranked from most common to least.
A worker wearing personal protective equipment or PPE is holding a nasopharyngeal swab.
The CDC has recently added four new COVID-19 symptoms - fatigue, diarrhea, constipation or runny nose, and nausea or vomiting - to its official list.
Fever and cough are the most common symptoms of COVID-19.
Shortness of breath, which is also common, is often the most dangerous.
Smaller groups of patients report additional symptoms such as muscle pain, sore throat and loss of taste or smell.
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When the novel coronavirus was first identified in China, patients appeared to develop at least one of three symptoms: fever, dry cough, and difficulty breathing. However, the data was skewed by the fact that most patients who were tested for the virus had severe cases requiring hospitalization.
As the virus grew to pandemic proportions, doctors saw many additional symptoms. Some patients report muscle pain, while others develop purple, swollen toes that appear frozen. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have updated their official list of COVID-19 symptoms since the pandemic began and added more as research became more robust. Finally, the agency added fatigue, diarrhea, constipation or runny nose, and nausea or vomiting to the list.
Related Video: How Coronavirus Symptoms Look Day by Day
Scientists have also discovered that the virus can infect the heart, kidneys, liver and intestines. This can lead to additional complications such as heart damage or acute kidney failure.
Here's an overview of how each symptom manifests in typical patients.
The CDC now lists 11 symptoms associated with COVID-19. Soldiers assigned to Javits New York Medical Station will perform check-in for an incoming coronavirus patient in New York City on April 5, 2020.
Javits New York Coronavirus Medical Station patient health
U.S. Navy / Chief Mass Communication Specialist Barry Riley / Handout via Reuters
These symptoms usually appear two days to two weeks after exposure to the virus, according to the CDC.
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body pain
New taste or smell loss
Constipation or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Fever is the most common symptom. A woman has her body temperature checked during the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Corona virus temperature
AP Photo / Vincent Thian
A February World Health Organization report found that out of nearly 56,000 laboratory-confirmed cases examined in China, about 88% of patients developed fever.
The second most common is a dry cough, although COVID-19 patients can also develop a wet cough.
Medical coronavirus virus flu sick cold hygiene hand disinfectant clorox wash hands cleaning bacteria delivery mask grocery grocery grocery pharmacy walgreens cox 105
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The WHO report found that 68% of patients developed a dry cough. However, a study in Wenzhou, China found that about a third of the patients (13 out of 53) developed a wet cough.
According to the WHO, fatigue can occur more frequently than breathing difficulties.
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The WHO report found that 38% of patients developed fatigue as a result of COVID-19.
The Wuhan study found that the symptom is even more common: 70% of these patients developed fatigue.
Around 20% of patients develop shortness of breath, which doctors recognize as one of the most worrying symptoms. A nasal ventilator is shown when a patient suffering from COVID-19 is treated in a lung hospital in Vannes, France, on March 20, 2020.
covid 19 lack of ventilation.JPG
Reuters / Stephane Mahe
Breathing difficulties can be an early sign of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a commonly fatal disease that may require intubation.
A study of 138 hospital patients in Wuhan, China found that 31% of all patients had difficulty breathing. In intensive care patients, this number was 64%.
"Of course, I'd always ask for shortness of breath, because that's someone who needs immediate help," Megan Coffee, an infectious disease clinician in New York City, told Business Insider earlier.
Shortness of breath usually occurs eight to ten days after the course of the disease, she said. But not every patient with shortness of breath has to go to the hospital.
"What I'm saying to people is that if you feel short of breath and it is difficult to walk around the room, up a flight of stairs, to speak in full sentences - these are always signs that you have difficulty breathing." Coffee said.
Patients have reported additional respiratory symptoms such as wheezing and chest pain.
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Almost 23% of the patients in the Wenzhou study had wheezing.
The CDC lists "persistent chest pain or pressure" as an emergency warning sign, which means that people with the symptom should see a doctor right away.
Bluish skin or lips are not common, but they are signs of a serious infection since they indicate a lack of oxygen in the blood.
Zay Nyi Nyi / Shutterstock
Doctors look for oxygen levels between 95% and 100% for healthy patients. A patient's skin usually turns blue (called "cyanosis") when its oxygen level is below 90% - a sign of a clinical emergency, according to the WHO.
With COVID-19, blue lips or skin may indicate pneumonia or ARDS. The CDC lists this symptom as one of its emergency warning signs.
Muscle pain occurred in 15% of the patients in the WHO report.
Medical Coronavirus Virus Flu Sick Cold Hygiene Hand Disinfectant Clorox Wash Hands Gym Training Fitness Cox 3
Crystal Cox / Business Insider
The report classified muscle pain (clinically known as "myalgia") in the same category as joint pain (or "arthralgia"). Both are often associated with viral infections.
In the Wuhan study, 35% of the patients developed muscle pain or muscle pain, although only 10% of the patients in the Wenzhou study had the same symptoms.
Sore throat and headache seem to affect the same number of patients: around 14%, according to the WHO.
Lee Charlie / Shutterstock
Because both are considered mild symptoms, patients with a headache or sore throat may be less likely to go to the hospital or seek a test, so the data on the prevalence of these symptoms may be skewed.
For example, the Wuhan study found that about 17% of patients developed a sore throat, while less than 7% developed a headache.
The CDC includes chills in its list of symptoms.
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Crystal Cox / Business Insider
Around 11% of Chinese patients participating in the WHO report developed chills.
Both chills and tremors are the result of muscles contracting and relaxing in the body. Like fever, they help raise a person's body temperature to ward off infection.
An episode of tremors and chills accompanied by fever is called "austerity". It can also cause excessive sweating.
The corona virus has been linked to neurological problems such as dizziness, confusion and delirium.
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Chinese researchers found that although the exact method is unknown, the virus can enter a person's nervous system. It is possible that the virus damages neurons in the nose, causing it to get from the airways to the brain.
Scientists have also found evidence that the virus attaches to ACE2 receptors in the inner lining of blood vessels. From there it could penetrate the barrier between blood and brain.
A study of 214 patients in Wuhan found that 36% of the patients had neurological symptoms. These symptoms were more common in patients with severe infections.
Around 25% of patients had dizziness, headache, confusion or delirium, seizures, and balance or coordination problems. Among these symptoms, dizziness was the most common and affected almost 17% of the patients.
A further 9% of the patients had symptoms related to the peripheral nervous system, such as nerve pain or impaired taste, smell and eyesight.
Loss of taste or smell can occur alone or alongside other symptoms. Police cover their faces as pig farmers throw rotten eggs in front of the Ministry of Health in Taipei.
Reuters / Nicky Loh
The CDC lists the loss of taste and smell as a COVID-19 symptom, but it is still unclear how common it is.
An April study of more than 200 coronavirus patients at the Wuhan, China hospital found that only 5% had taste and odor loss. However, another study with 50 coronavirus patients in the same month showed that 98% had at least some "odor disorder".
The reality is probably somewhere in the middle: A review in May found that around 53% of coronavirus patients had an olfactory disorder. A Spanish case study also found that almost 40% of patients with COVID-19 developed olfactory and / or taste disorders, compared to only 12% of those with flu.
The virus can cause blood clots to form, which leads to a variety of health complications.
EmiliaUngur / Shutterstock
A Dutch study of 184 coronavirus patients in the intensive care unit found that almost a third of the patients had blood clots.
Scientists are still not sure why. It is possible for the virus to directly attack blood vessels, but it can also trigger a strong inflammatory response that damages these vessels. Because the corona virus is a respiratory virus, it can also damage the blood vessels by reducing the level of oxygen in the blood.
"The number of coagulation problems that I see in the intensive care unit that are all related to COVID-19 is unprecedented," said Dr. Jeffrey Laurence, hematologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, told CNN in April. "Blood clotting problems appear to be common with severe COVID."
Blood clotting can lead to strokes even in younger coronavirus patients. A doctor uses a CT scan of a patient's brain to look for signs of a stroke or blood clot.
Stroke CT scan brain blood clot
More severe strokes have been documented in severe coronavirus cases than in mild, but younger patients with less severe cases can also suffer.
Before the pandemic, doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City saw an average of two weeks less than one patient under the age of 50 with a large vessel stroke. But from March 23 to April 7, they saw five patients who met this description. All tested positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Nate Favini, who treats coronavirus patients in San Francisco, suspects that some patients may experience "micro-strokes" without being noticed.
"The virus can cause a tendency to clot," Favini told Business Insider earlier. "My suspicion is that this is the reason for the strokes that we see in younger people."
Blood clots can also cause kidney or heart damage. A nurse prepares a dialysis machine.
Radu Sigheti / Reuters
Blood clots can reduce blood flow to the kidneys and heart and damage both organs. It is also possible that the coronavirus attacks these organs directly because both the heart and the kidneys are rich in ACE2 receptors.
In general, coronavirus patients with pre-existing health problems are at higher risk of heart damage or kidney failure.
A study of 416 hospital patients in Wuhan found that patients with a heart injury - around 20% - were usually older and had underlying problems such as high blood pressure.
Many hospitalized coronavirus patients develop kidney injury. Dialysis machine.
Getty Images / zlikovec
A May study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that the kidneys are "one of the most common targets" for the coronavirus.
Another study of 85 patients in Wuhan (awaiting peer review) found that impaired kidney function was "fairly common in COVID-19 patients" but developed more easily in older patients with pre-existing health problems. Around 27% of the patients in this study had acute kidney failure.
Since a ventilator is often required in severe coronavirus cases, the respirator itself can also cause kidney damage. A 2018 study by the University of California at San Diego found that the risk of acute kidney injury with mechanical ventilation tripled.
Hospitals have also recorded gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. They can be an early sign of the virus.
PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP via Getty Images
Only 5% of the coronavirus patients in the WHO report developed nausea or vomiting, and another 4% developed diarrhea.
However, a March study of 204 hospitalized patients in Hubei Province in China found that more than 50% of the patients reported digestive symptoms such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain.
Almost 13% of the patients in the Wenzhou study had diarrhea. Similarly, the study in Wuhan patients found that 10% had diarrhea and nausea, while less than 4% had vomiting. The study found that diarrhea and nausea typically occurred one to two days before fever and difficulty breathing.
A recent Nature study found that the coronavirus is actively replicating in the intestine, suggesting that the intestinal tract could be "a pathway" for the virus.
Dermatologists have reported seeing coronavirus patients with purple, swollen toes - what the medical community now calls "COVID toes". A photo of an example of 'COVID toes' that Dr. Ilan Schwartz posted on Twitter
Dr. Ilan Schwartz's Covid Toes photo
Dr. Ilan Schwartz / @GermHunterMD
The American Academy of Dermatology set up a registry in April to track dermatological problems in COVID-19 patients. Out of more than 200 healthcare submissions, about half noticed hand or foot lesions that resembled frostbite, Esther Freeman, a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Business Insider.
Freeman said the lesions could be the product of general inflammation in the body or inflammation in the walls of the blood vessels - known as "vasculitis". They can also result from blood clots in skin vessels or a combination of all three factors.
Lindy Fox, professor of dermatology at the University of California, told Business Insider that the symptom is common in younger, relatively healthy patients with little or no other symptoms.
A stuffy nose is not a common symptom, according to WHO, but some patients do.
Hyungwon Kang / Reuters
Almost 5% of patients in the WHO report developed nasal congestion, compared to approximately 7% in the Wenzhou study.
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