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People With Delta Usually Feel This at the Start

Are you infected with Delta? Look out for these symptoms.

You feel sick. Is it a cold, flu, allergies, COVID-19, or the highly contagious Delta variant? According to Inci Yildirim, MD, Ph.D., a Yale Medicine pediatric infectious diseases specialist and a vaccinologist, Delta seems to affect the body a little differently than other strains, especially when it comes to symptoms. "This variant seems to be working slightly differently," adds virus expert Tim Spector, who's ZOE Symptom Project in the UK has been tracking symptoms. "So I think the message here is that if you're young and getting milder symptoms, anyway, it might just feel like a bad cold or some funny  feeling, but do stay at home and do get a test….So if you feel unwell, just stay at home for a few days until it passes." Read on to learn about the most common symptoms of the Delta variant—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


You Might Have a Headache

Young woman have headache migraine stress or tinnitus

Yildirim explains in an article courtesy of Yale Medicine that based on surveys in the UK, there are a few main symptoms reported. A headache is one of them. "We've seen a number of secondary headache disorders with COVID-19 at our institution," says Dr. Matthew Robbins, a neurologist. "And this includes various types of cerebrovascular disease, including cerebral venous thrombosis, cervical artery dissection, this posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome. I think much of this could be related to the ability of COVID-19 relative to other viral illnesses to induce thrombosis and our stroke group at Cornell have have a large research study, looking comparatively at COVID-19 versus influenza a and showing a seven-fold rate of ischemic stroke in such a patient."


You Could Have a Sore Throat

Woman experiencing first Covid-19 symptoms throat pain breathing problems on sofa

Another symptom per Yildirim? A sore throat. While a sore throat is one of the potential symptoms of a regular COVID-19 infection, it is not one of the most common, per the Mayo Clinic

RELATED: You're Most Likely to Catch COVID Here, Say Experts


Your Nose Could Be Running

Woman blowing her nose into tissue

Runny noses, a symptom of the common cold, are also regularly reported by those infected with the Delta variant, per Yildirim. "So allergy symptoms, can affect the nose, can affect the sinuses and the lungs so they can present with itchy, watery, eyes, itchy, runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath," says Dr. Arveen Bhasin of the Mayo Clinic. "And some of these symptoms are similar [and have] overlap with COVID. COVID of course we could see a lot of coughing, shortness of breath, some wheezing, fatigue is also common in both allergy and COVID, as is headache. However, with COVID, a lot of times will have fever, loss of sense of smell or taste, muscle aches, what we call myalgias, and nausea or vomiting or diarrhea, which are not seen with allergies."


You Might Experience a Fever

woman covered with plaid checking her body temperature while sitting in bed at her apartment

Finally, a fever, which is one of the main symptoms of COVID-19, is also reported by those infected with Delta. A fever is defined as a temperature 100.4 degrees F or higher.

RELATED: 7 Signs of Long COVID, Says Dr. Fauci


Symptoms Are More Severe

Infected patient in quarantine lying in bed in hospital

Another key sign you may be infected with Delta? Your symptoms are incredibly severe. The strain is thought to be twice as contagious as other variants and is more likely to put people in the hospital. The unvaccinated population is most at risk, with the strain spreading more rapidly and hospitalization rates higher in areas with low vaccination rates. 


You Have Other Symptoms, But Not These

Blonde woman coughing.

Another sign you might have Delta is if you don't have certain symptoms. "It seems like cough and loss of smell are less common," Yildirim says. Who is most likely to catch COVID? Unvaccinated people. "And of course, the other worry is an increase in the number of people with Long COVID symptoms," says Spector. Those are symptoms that can last for more than a year, maybe forever, affecting anywhere from 10 to 30% of people who catch even a mild case of COVID. "And that's something that everyone needs to worry about, whatever their age."

RELATED: Major Sign You May Have Dementia, Says Study


Do Your Part to End the Pandemic

Woman getting COVID-19 vaccine shot.

IF you think you have COVIDm, get tested. "The best ones to get quickly are a lateral flow test, which you can get from the nearest pharmacy," says Spector. "And you can repeat that daily. If it's positive, get a PCR test, to be sure, but treat it as if you have got COVID. And I think this is really important to reduce the transmission of this virus, particularly in the young, by people acting sensibly." Follow the public health 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.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah