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COVID Symptoms Usually Appear in This Pattern 

Look for this sequence.

The COVID-19 pandemic is constantly changing. It's important to stay up to date on the symptoms most associated with the latest variant, so you can identify them early, get tested, avoid spreading the disease and seek treatment if necessary. In recent days, it was reported that the newest COVID variant—BA.2, a subvariant of Omicron—may include some distinctive early symptoms. 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.


Dizziness and Fatigue

man massaging nose bridge, taking glasses off, having blurry vision or dizziness

Some slightly different early symptoms have been reported with the BA.2 Omicron subvariant, Washington State health official Francisco Velazquez told KREM 2 News last week. In particular, dizziness and fatigue are symptoms to watch for, he said. And it's important to be vigilant for symptoms that are out of the ordinary: Unfortunately, previous Omicron infection doesn't seem to be protective against contracting BA.2, he said. (But the COVID vaccine still seems to be protective against severe illness or death.)

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Stomach Pain

woman with hands holding pressing her crotch lower abdomen

From the first days of the pandemic, researchers with the ZOE COVID Symptom Study have been tracking symptoms associated with new COVID cases. Earlier this month, the scientists said there had been a "sharp increase" in reports of stomach pain from mid-December to mid-January. "Gastrointestinal (GI) problems — such as diarrhea, stomach pains, feeling sick and losing your appetite or skipping meals — can all be symptoms of COVID-19," they said. But  it's not clear whether Omicron is causing more stomach upset than previous variants. The increase in GI symptoms might be attributable to seasonal stomach flu.

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Omicron Symptoms Not That Different Overall

Doctor analyzing patient blood and nasal swab testing sample for new covid-19 mutation.

Otherwise, the scientists at the COVID Symptom Study say, Omicron symptoms don't markedly differ from the Delta variant. In fact, the five most commonly reported symptoms are the same: Runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and sore throat. People have also frequently reported loss of appetite and brain fog, the researchers say. 

Other Common COVID Symptoms

According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • 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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    How Do You Know If It's COVID?

    Doctor or nurse wearing PPE, N95 mask, face shield and personal protective gown standing beside the car/road screening for Covid-19 virus

    So how do you tell if your cough or sore throat is a cold or COVID? Without a COVID test, you really can't, experts say. Their advice: If you're having any symptoms that are out of the ordinary, get tested for COVID ASAP—even if you've been fully vaccinated or boosted—and isolate until you know the results.

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    How to Stay Safe Out There

    Female patient smiling behind the face mask and with her eyes, while getting flu shot

    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.

    RELATED: The CDC Just Changed These Major COVID Rules

    Michael Martin
    Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael