OMICRON is lurking around every corner and has likely infected at least one person you know.
But some people may still be unaware of the nasty illness it inflicts, and could be spreading the bug further.
The symptoms of Covid have changed vastly since it first emerged in the UK.
While it used to almost always cause a fever, high temperature and loss of smell or taste, that’s not so much the case now.
Only 13 per cent of people with Omicron get a loss of smell or taste, according to the UK Health and Security Agency.
That compares with 34 per cent of those with Delta – the previously dominant strain – and around half of those with the original “Wuhan” strain.
A sore throat is more common in those with Omicron, affecting more than half of those infected.
However, Brits may be unfamiliar with these new signs of infection, instead waiting until they get a cough or lose their taste to bother getting a test or isolating.
With the NHS not updating its symptom list since May 2020, many people may be missing the new signs of the virus, experts say.
But you would rightly be concerned if your housemate or relative is complaining of a sore throat and stonking headache.
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Perhaps your sibling or partner is sneezing more often than usual, can't finish their dinner or their voice has become more hoarse or stuffy – all signs of Covid illness.
They may complain they are just feeling a bit “under the weather”, with extreme fatigue or low energy.
Phil Day, Superintendent Pharmacists at Pharmacy2U, said: “The expected symptoms of a Covid infection according to the NHS website are a high temperature, a new continuous cough, and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
“However, there are some new symptoms that seem to be associated with the Omicron variant and which might be overlooked as being potentially Covid-related.
“Some of these are similar symptoms to those of a common cold, such as a headache or a sore throat.
"However evidence is emerging that some other symptoms could be linked to Omicron infection, such as a loss of appetite, nausea, and back pain.
“While it should be clear that not every case of nausea or back pain is going to be linked to Covid, it would be sensible for people to be aware of these potential symptoms.
“And if there is any doubt about your Covid status, use a lateral flow test – especially if you have any of the ‘classic’ symptoms as well.”
All of the following symptoms have been highlighted as the top 20 reported in people with Covid currently.
The ZOE Covid Symptom Study claims that headache, runny nose, fatigue, sneezing and sore throat are the most reported symptoms from app users with positive tests.
The full list of the 20 most common symptoms are listed below.
It’s unlikely that if a person has one of these symptoms alone, they have Covid, although it’s not impossible.
The top 20 symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Persistent cough
- Hoarse voice
- Unusual joint pains
- Chills or shivers
- Eye soreness
- Brain fog
- Unusual muscle pains
- Altered smell
- Skipped meals
- Swollen glands
- Chest pain
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