The emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has brought many questions, and experts aren't sure if it's more transmissible or severe than previous iterations of the coronavirus. Even if you've been vaccinated, it's a good reminder to continue best practices to avoid contracting the virus, and to be familiar with COVID symptoms so if you experience them, you can get tested and limit spread of the virus. These are the most common signs you might have COVID, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
The Most Common Signs of COVID
"People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported—ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness," says the CDC. The agency notes that most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
"Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus," says the CDC. "Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms."
When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Some symptoms of COVID indicate a medical emergency. These include:
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
The new onset of confusion
Inability to wake up or to stay awake
Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds
If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 or seek emergency medical care as soon as possible.
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Are COVID Symptoms Different Now?
It's too soon to tell if Omicron causes different symptoms than previous variants of COVID-19. But researchers at the COVID Symptom Study have been tracking the symptoms of new COVID cases, and they report that symptoms related to the Delta variant have changed somewhat compared to earlier iterations of the virus. They say these are now the most commonly reported early symptoms, if you're vaccinated:
Loss of smell
If you haven't been vaccinated, experts say your early symptoms are likely to be similar to earlier strains of COVID-19, including fever, a cough that may be severe, and body aches, along with runny nose, headache and sore throat.
How Do I Know It's COVID?
COVID has a pretty long list of potential symptoms, and many of them can be related to other issues. A runny nose and cough, for example, might be due to allergies, a cold or flu. How do you distinguish between COVID and something more minor? You really can't, experts say. The best thing to do if you're experiencing any unusual symptoms is to get tested for COVID as soon as possible—even if you've been fully vaccinated—and to self-isolate until you know the results.
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated 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.