The early days of the coronavirus pandemic saw a fairly common list of symptoms: cough, fever, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell.
The emergence of the omicron variant – now blamed for the massive surge of COVID-19 cases across the world – has introduced a new set of symptoms, including some that could easily be dismissed as signs of a common cold.
Researchers with the ZOE Covid Study have found only early symptom has been consistently reported by COVID patients – headaches. According to the study, headaches are the second-most common omicron symptom, beat out only by a runny nose.
Omicron patients report fewer instances of cough, fever and loss of taste or smell.
What are the early signs of omicron infection?
Along with headaches and runny noses, sore throats continue to be reported by omicron patients. This is especially true in “breakthrough” cases among fully vaccinated people, health experts said.
“Especially in people who we’re seeing these more mild breakthrough infections, we are definitely seeing sore throat be a predictor in that group,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady told NBC News Chicago.
Arwady said anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms should assume they have COVID-19 until testing proves otherwise.
“Even if it’s a sore throat, no matter what it is,” she said. “If you are sick, even a little bit sick, stay home. More true than ever right now because sick, even a little bit sick, until proven otherwise with a test — that’s COVID. That’s how we treat it, that’s how you should treat it.”
COVID-19 symptoms can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after someone is exposed to the virus and there is some evidence omicron symptoms appear on the early side of the scale.
Early research indicates people with omicron could become contagious quicker than with other versions – possibly within a day after infection, the AP reported.
New Centers for Disease Control guidelines are based on evidence that suggests the transmission of COVID-19 often occurs one to two days before the onset of symptoms and during the two to three days afterwards. People with a positive test but no symptoms are considered contagious at least two days before receiving their test results.