While there may be no such thing as a “good” COVID symptom, some are definitely worse than others. As scientists have unearthed more about this mysterious virus, it’s become increasingly clear that certain symptoms spell trouble for the trajectory of one’s illness. One recent study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, found that two serious COVID symptoms in particular can indicate a higher chance of hospitalization among those with long-term COVID cases—yet to the naked eye, they may seem no worse than others. Those symptoms are ongoing fever and loss of appetite.
The research team behind the study used an app to gather data from over 4,100 COVID patients and found that roughly 13 percent of participants experienced “long-COVID,” an extended illness lasting at least 28 days. An additional one in 20 patients was sick for over eight weeks, and one in 50 was sick for over twelve weeks. Among those protracted cases, patients who experienced five or more symptoms over the course of the first week were more likely to experience extended cases.
But even within the long-COVID group, two symptoms stood out as early predictors of complications, which ultimately led those patients disproportionately to the hospital. “In the individuals with long duration, ongoing fever and skipped meals were strong predictors of a subsequent hospital visit,” the study explains. This means that among the groups that suffered through coronavirus longest, people with these two serious COVID symptoms were among the hardest hit.
Though the study cautioned against generalizing based on their analysis and was quick to point out its own limitations (in particular that the study subjects were predominantly female, under the age of 70, and responsible for self-reporting their own data), this could help doctors identify serious cases of COVID sooner. Read on for more signs that you could be in for a case of long-COVID, and for a more extensive list of what to look out for when it comes to coronavirus, check out The 51 Most Common COVID Symptoms You Could Have.