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COVID Symptoms Adults Get the Most, Say Experts

Doctors explain the common signs of COVID they're seeing in many adults. 

COVID cases are spiking again in the U.S. to the point where we recently reached a bleak milestone: 1 million+ cases, a record single-day number, fueled by the new Omicron variant. The virus affects everyone differently, but there are common signs to be on the lookout for. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, "Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after someone is exposed to the virus," and below are COVID signs that most adults get according to doctors Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Cold-Like Symptoms

Sick woman with tissue and running nose

Watch out for symptoms that are similar to the common cold, Dr. Mobola Kukoyi, a board certified ER doctor says. "People with COVID are experiencing cold-like symptoms like congestion, sore throat, cough, and so on, especially with the Omicron variant. We're seeing less of the loss of sense and taste. A major symptom people are complaining about is extreme fatigue, even with simple tasks like walking across the house. Muscle aches, especially back pain, have also been noted. The gut can also be affected, and we have people presenting with nausea and vomiting."


Common COVID Symptoms

Woman being sick having flu sitting on bed alone at home, having high fever or temperature, touching forehead

Dr. Christina Johns, pediatrician & Senior Medical Advisor at PM Pediatrics, the largest urgent care group in the U.S., reveals other signs of COVID to be aware of. 

  • "Headache: people can experience varying levels of pain
  • Nasal congestion: stuffy nose due to swelling of the nasal passages
  • Cough: generally a dry cough
  • Fatigue: feelings of exhaustion
  • Sore throat: pain/discomfort in the throat"

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​​Respiratory Symptoms and Chest Pains

cardiac disease risk

According to Dr. Kukoyi, "The COVID symptoms are on a spectrum, so apart from the upper respiratory symptoms, people can develop chest pain and breathing difficulties. If this happens, one needs to seek help in the emergency room. I recommend that everyone with COVID buy a pulse oximeter to measure their blood oxygen levels, especially if they have respiratory symptoms, and seek help for any values consistently less than 90 percent."

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How to Treat COVID


Dr. Johns explains, "While there are some new antiviral therapies available, the mainstay of COVID-19 treatment, like all other viral infections, is supportive care. Consuming plenty of fluids and taking other comfort measures, such as fever and pain-reducing medicines, are the best methods for easing discomfort as the virus runs its course."

Dr. Kukoyi adds, "For mild symptoms, hydration and symptom/fever control with Tylenol/ibuprofen is key. Also, pacing oneself and getting plenty of rest will help with recovery."

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How to Avoid Getting the Virus


"Unless one has a medical reason that precludes COVID vaccination, I recommend getting vaccinated and boosted," Dr. Kukoyi states. "This is the best protection we have against severe disease. Lastly, masking up will continue to remain essential in our fight against the virus. Due to the high transmissibility of Omicron, recommendations are leaning towards using the three-ply surgical masks, N95 and KN95, as opposed to cloth masks."

Dr. Johns says, "Get your vaccine and booster if you are eligible. Wear a proper-fitting mask at all times when in public, even if you are fully vaccinated. Practice hand hygiene by sanitizing and washing hands regularly and for an appropriate period of time with warm water and soap. Continue to practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings of any kind. If a gathering is necessary, keep it outdoors."

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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.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather