New top 10 Covid symptoms to look for as signs ‘frequently changing’

Omicron: GP explains ‘overwhelming’ science behind vaccines

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Initial cases of COVID-19 were first reported in the UK back in January 2020. Since then, the virus has mutated multiple times, creating new strains. With that and the introduction of a vaccine, the most commonly reported symptoms have also changed.

Many of us are aware of the Covid symptoms that we were first urged to be on the lookout for, including loss of taste and smell and a persistent cough.

But this has continued to change over the last almost three-year period.

The ZOE Health Study, which collates real-time symptom data from Covid patients, has updated its top signs to look for, per the latest reports.

Data from the 30 days up to December 5 this year showed the top 10 symptoms to be:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • Cough without phlegm
  • Headache
  • Cough with phlegm
  • Hoarse voice
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • An altered sense of smell.

The study explains: “Since the start of the pandemic, ZOE has continually reported the most common Covid symptoms and how they’ve changed over time.

“These symptoms have changed for a few reasons, including the introduction of vaccines and the emergence of new variants.

“Like every virus, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is constantly evolving, in terms of its ability to spread and the symptoms it causes.

“We used to report the top five symptoms. But over time, we’ve seen that these change frequently.

“So, we’re now reporting the top 10 symptoms, which remain more stable.”

What happened to some of the ‘traditional’ symptoms?

Some of the earlier common signs are still experienced by patients, but not as frequently.

“The previous ‘traditional’ symptoms, such as loss of smell (anosmia), shortness of breath, and a fever, are much less common these days,” ZOE says.

“In the list of common symptoms, anosmia ranks 14th, and shortness of breath ranks 16th.

“Anosmia used to be a key indicator of COVID-19, but only about 16 percent of people with the illness now experience it.”

What should I do if I have symptoms?

Although there are no longer legal Covid restrictions in the UK, the government still advises you to stay at home if you test positive.

The NHS recommends staying home and avoiding others for five days and limiting contact with vulnerable people for 10 days after testing.

ZOE adds: “If your throat starts to feel sore, you’re starting to sneeze more often, or you’re newly sick with any other symptom linked to COVID-19, the best idea is to rest at home and take a test.

“This is particularly important if you live or work with people who have a greater risk from the disease.

“Sneezing is a key way that viruses spread.

“Try to cover all coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow to minimise the spread of droplets.

“And avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth until you’ve washed your hands.”

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