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BA.2 Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order

Here’s what to expect with the BA.2 subvariant.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The Omicron BA.2 subvariant is fast becoming the dominant strain of COVID-19, with symptoms similar to previous strains of the virus. "It's important to know and recognize all of the symptoms of Omicron. Symptoms like sore throat, runny nose, headache, and fatigue could be COVID," says Dr. Claire Steves from King's College London. "If you are experiencing any symptoms, get tested and isolate until you have your test result." Here are symptoms of BA.2, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.



Young sick woman laying in her bed.

Many people with BA.2 have reported experiencing headaches, experts say. "A runny nose and headache are symptoms of many infections, but may also be the first symptoms – and only symptoms – of Covid," says Professor Irene Petersen, professor of epidemiology and health informatics at University College London. "Therefore, if you have these symptoms, I'd encourage you to use lateral flow tests for a couple of days."


Runny Nose

Young woman having flu

Although a runny nose could mean cold, flu, or allergies, it's also one of the most common symptoms of BA.2. "At this point, it's probably best to assume you are positive until you are proven otherwise," says Marc Mazade, M.D., director of Infection Control at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. "If family members are having symptoms, they should get tested as soon as possible, which may take longer than usual."


GI Issues

stomach problems

A number of people are reporting gastrointestinal issues connected to COVID-19. "Thanks to millions of daily health reports from our dedicated ZOE COVID Study app contributors, we've shown from the earliest days of the pandemic that gastrointestinal (GI) problems — such as diarrhea, stomach pains, feeling sick and losing your appetite or skipping meals — can all be symptoms of COVID-19," says Professor Timothy Spector. 


BA.2 Is Highly Transmissible

Waiter coughing into elbow while serving customers in a restaurant.

"There's four unique mutations in the spike protein that are distinct in BA.2, and different from BA.1. … It seems that these mutations will propel the transmissibility to about a 30% to 50% higher degree of contagiousness than the BA.1 variant," says Dr. Gregory Huhn, an infectious disease physician and the COVID-19 vaccine coordinator for Cook County Health. You might feel any of these:

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

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Be Careful If You're Over 45

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People over 45 are more likely to be infected and experience severe symptoms with BA.2, doctors say. "The increasing presence of the BA.2 sub-lineage of Omicron and the recent slight increase in infections in those over 55 show that the pandemic is not over and that we can expect to see Covid circulating at high levels," says Dr. Jenny Harries, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) chief executive.

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How to Stay Safe Out There


Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted 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.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan