COVID Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order — Eat This Not That


COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that has been affecting people all over the world. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 so that you can take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others. In this article, we will discuss the order in which COVID-19 symptoms usually appear and provide some tips on what to eat and what to avoid to help reduce your risk of infection. Eating the right foods can help boost your immune system and reduce your risk of developing severe symptoms if you do become infected.

COVID Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order

COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that has been spreading rapidly around the world. While the virus can cause a wide range of symptoms, they usually appear in a specific order. Knowing the order of symptoms can help you identify if you have the virus and seek medical attention.

The Order of COVID-19 Symptoms

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms usually appear in the following order:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

It is important to note that not everyone will experience all of these symptoms. Some people may only experience a few of them, while others may experience more severe symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention.

Eat This Not That

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, it is important to eat a healthy diet to help your body fight the virus. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help boost your immune system and give your body the nutrients it needs to fight the virus. Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and foods high in saturated fat.

BA.2.12.1 is now the dominant COVID-19 subvariant in the US, but BA.4 and BA.5 are fast creeping up—and reinfection is unfortunately highly likely. “It’s expected that there’s probably not much cross-protection between them,” says infectious disease physician Amesh Adalja, MD. “That’s what you expect with this viral family. The virus is going to be able to continue to evolve to reinfect us at will.” Here are the order COVID symptoms usually appear in, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

The surprised girl holds a thermometer in her hands.

Many people report fever and chills as their first sign of viral sickness. “I think if someone has a fever, regardless of how long it’s lasting, unless they can clearly attribute it to something else, that’s a very reasonable symptom to seek an evaluation for,” says Dr. David Aronoff, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


A persistent cough is one of the first signs of COVID-19. “If the cough is accompanied by a fever, fatigue and body aches, you may want to consider testing for COVID-19,” says Loras Even, DO, UnityPoint Health. “We’re especially concerned when a cough worsens, is associated with a fever or causes breathing problems. Patients experiencing these symptoms should come in for an evaluation.”


Research shows headache and fatigue are some of the earliest signs of COVID-19. “Our data shows that the most commonly experienced early symptoms are actually headache (82%) and fatigue (72%) – and this is the case for all age groups,” according to health company ZOE, which runs a COVID-19 symptom tracking app. “Only 9% of COVID-positive adults aged 18 – 65 didn’t experience headache or fatigue. Of course, headache and fatigue commonly occur in other conditions which is why they don’t trigger a test on their own.”

woman trying to sense smell of half fresh orange, has symptoms of Covid-19

Although less common with the Omicron subvariants, a loss of taste and smell is a common early sign of COVID-19 infection. “There’s a risk of temporary and, less commonly, permanent loss of smell with any viral infection,” says Raj Sindwani, MD. “Things get swollen and the odors just are not getting to the smell receptors that live high in the nose. It happens with the common cold and it frequently happens early in COVID-19 cases as well.”

mature woman experiencing stomach pain from fatty liver disease

Gastrointestinal issues are one of the most commonly reported early symptoms of COVID-19, experts say. “Early on, the CDC list of COVID-19 symptoms did not include gastrointestinal symptoms,” says Jordan Shapiro, MD, assistant professor of medicine – gastroenterology at Baylor. “It became clear after the first few months that there is a subset of COVID-19 patients with non-respiratory symptoms. We now know that subset is about one-third of COVID-19 patients. Some people don’t immediately realize that their GI symptoms coincided with their COVID-19 infection, and they may not think the symptoms are related to COVID-19 because they’re not respiratory in nature.”


Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Ferozan Mast

Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more