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Five ways to tell if you already had COVID but never knew about it

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Attendees of COVID-19 patients scramble for oxygen cylinders at a hospital in Srinagar on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 (File Photo: KM/Umar Ganie)

Jammu and Kashmir is close to registering 80,000 COVID-19 cases as the last eight odd months have been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. The pandemic has wreaked havoc, devoured hundreds of thousands of people and infected over 35 million people globally.

However, according to one study published by JAMA Internal Medicine, the actual number of infections could be anywhere from six to 24 times that number. Therefore, even if you did not receive a confirmation that you were infected with COVID, there is a decent chance you had it.


Let’s have a look at these five ways to tell if you’ve already had coronavirus, and ensure you don’t take any chances with your health and the safety of others.

A positive antibody test

The most precise way of determining if you have been infected with COVID-19 is via an antibody test.

According to the CDC, the tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which may tell you if you had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and can provide protection against getting that disease again. However, antibody tests are not flawless. For example, a positive test could mean you have antibodies from an infection with a different virus from the coronavirus family. If you test negative, it could be because you are still battling the virus and haven’t produced antibodies.

You experienced Symptoms

During the first major wave of the virus, testing was limited, so it’s likely you didn’t get tested even if you suspected you had COVID due to symptoms such as a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, or loss of sense of smell or taste. However, if you were directly exposed to the virus or spent time in a heavily infected region and experienced any of the common symptoms, there’s a really good chance you were battling it.

You weren’t symptomatic but many around you were

If other family members, co-workers, or friends were infected with coronavirus, and you seem to be the only one who remained healthy, it is highly likely you were COVID positive but asymptomatic. According to one study, up to 80% of those infected with the virus show no symptoms. Other studies have calculated the number of asymptomatic infections closer to 40%.

A Bizarre Symptom

Over the last few months, we have learned that COVID-19 can produce some, well, bizarre symptoms. Strange dermatological manifestations, like rashes and COVID toes, digestive issues, pink eye, phantom smells, and unusual heartburn are just a few of the unusual symptoms of the virus that have been reported.

Diagnosed with something else

You were sick and tested negative for the flu. Or the doctor diagnosed you with a respiratory infection, bronchial infection, or pneumonia. It is quite possible it was actually COVID.