What are the signs of COVID? What to know because a study finds the most common symptoms have changed – NBC Chicago

Although more than 20 symptoms have been linked to COVID-19, not everyone is guaranteed to experience certain symptoms after contracting the virus, and some may experience no symptoms at all.

As the pandemic enters its third winter, the emergence of new variants throughout the pandemic has created some differences in symptoms for different variants.

For those who contract the virus after already having it, the signs of COVID can differ significantly from the original infection, and a recent study finds there may be a reason for that.

According to the Zoe Health study, the most common symptoms have recently changed, noting that experiences generally differ depending on a person’s vaccination status.

The study results show a marked difference from survey results collected early last year, which noted that three common symptoms were present in almost 70% of patients.

In a March 2021 article, researchers said 69% of study participants reported one of three “core” symptoms — cough, fever, or loss or change in smell. They noted, however, that testing people who developed one of seven symptoms, not just three, would detect 96% of symptomatic infections. These seven symptoms were cough, fever, loss of smell, fatigue, sore throat, headache and diarrhea.

The study, originally launched by researchers in the UK, compiled data from its ZOE COVID Study app, which millions of people around the world, including in the US, have used to relay symptoms what they felt.

In the most recent study results, the researchers said that generally people who had been vaccinated, and others who had not, reported the same symptoms. The difference, however, is that those who have already received at least one COVID vaccine reported fewer symptoms over a shorter period.

Listed in order of appearance, here are the latest COVID symptoms reported after two COVID injections:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Runny nose
  3. Stuffy nose
  4. Persistent cough
  5. Headache

Although still reported by some people with COVID, loss of smell, shortness of breath and fever are ranked lower on the list than before, according to the researchers. Additionally, with the most recent study, people who had been vaccinated and then tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to report sneezing.

Looking at those who received a COVID vaccine, it ranks changes with headaches as the most commonly reported symptom. The full list is below:

  1. Headache
  2. Runny nose
  3. Sore throat
  4. To sneeze
  5. Persistent cough

The symptoms experienced by those who have not been vaccinated are similar to those experienced by people who have received two doses of the vaccine. However, they remain different from the most commonly reported symptoms at the start of the pandemic. Here are the most common symptoms reported by unvaccinated people:

  1. Headache
  2. Sore throat
  3. Runny nose
  4. Fever
  5. Persistent cough

Those who were vaccinated and tested positive for COVID were more likely to report sneezing as a symptom – compared to those who weren’t vaccinated, the research found. If you have been vaccinated and start sneezing often, it is suggested that you get tested.

After the winter of 2021 saw an increase in COVID-19 cases due to the then recently spread omicron variant, health experts are concerned both about the emergence of a potentially new COVID variant as well as the resurgence of influenza, which has been mostly contained since the start of the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website outlines symptoms of COVID, explaining that people can report a wide range of symptoms, some of which are not included on its page.

Here is the list of possible symptoms, as of August 11, according to the CDC.

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body pain
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The CDC noted that it would continue to update the list as more is learned about COVID-19.

So why have the most common symptoms changed from years past?

The researchers concluded that there could be a few reasons, such as vaccinated people showing less severe symptoms, as well as an increase in cases reported by young people. Compared to older people, younger people generally have different and less severe symptoms, according to the study.

NBC Chicago

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