TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Doctors say they’re seeing a new COVID-19 symptom in some patients.
According to experts, an earache has been reported more frequently by those testing positive for COVID. Earaches can cause pain, a feeling of blockage and sometimes muffled hearing.
With new emerging COVID variants, doctors are reporting that symptoms are changing.
This past weekend, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel cited an earache as one of his symptoms during a news conference on Zoom, where he announced his positive diagnosis.
“This morning I woke up with a sore throat and a little bit of an earache, so I went and got tested,” he said Sunday.
The announcement came less than 24 hours after the team was in Tampa over the weekend for a Buccaneers preseason game.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste of smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
The CDC notes, however, that this list doesn’t cover all possible symptoms.
Dr. Nicole Frommann, the medical director for Tampa General Hospital, told WFLA that an earache is usually not “an isolated symptom.”
“The reason we are seeing earaches more often is because sore throat is so prominent, and the earache is coming from sore throat,” she said. “We sometimes see earaches, but usually associated with other symptoms, especially sore throat.”
As virus variants and their symptoms emerge, COVID-19 case numbers are rising rapidly. Fueled by the now-dominant delta variant, new reported cases in the U.S. have topped 150,000 a day, the highest level since late January. Nationally, the rate of increase has slowed, but the variant threatens to overwhelm emergency rooms in parts of the country.
“COVID patient after COVID patient, we are overwhelmed with the patients with COVID. I would say it’s worse than last year,” Frommann said.
The CDC says most variants cause similar COVID-19 symptoms, but some, such as the alpha and delta variants, may cause more sickness and deaths.
Frommann warned that the pandemic shows no signs of slowing. The CDC encourages people to take proper precautions to avoid the virus, including wearing a mask, social distancing, handwashing and getting vaccinated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.