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Omicron Symptoms Patients Complain About Most

It's crucial to know what the common symptoms are.

For many of us, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 made 2021 end on a bum note, disrupting holiday plans, snarling travel and making hundreds of thousands of Americans who contracted the virus feel just plain miserable. Thankfully, experts say that Omicron is, by and large, causing relatively mild symptoms if you're vaccinated. But it's crucial to know what the common symptoms are so you can take steps to limit the spread of the disease. Read on to find out more about the Omicron symptoms patients complain about most—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


The Most Common Omicron Symptoms

Sick woman blowing nose on her sofa.

According to the scientists at the COVID Symptom Study—who have been tracking symptoms associated with newly diagnosed COVID cases—the symptoms people are reporting with Omicron aren't appreciably different than those associated with the Delta variant. In fact, the top five symptoms are the same. They are:

  1. Runny nose
  2. Headache
  3. Fatigue (mild or severe)
  4. Sneezing
  5. Sore throat

People have also reported loss of appetite and brain fog as common symptoms, the researchers said.

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Symptoms May Vary Based on Vaccination Status

Close up shot of hands checking Covid-19 vaccine report card and ticking 3rd or booster dose after vaccination.

Experts say that Omicron produces milder symptoms than previous variants—if you're vaccinated.

"Every patient I've seen with Covid that's had a 3rd 'booster' dose has had mild symptoms. By mild I mean mostly sore throat. Lots of sore throat. Also some fatigue, maybe some muscle pain. No difficulty breathing. No shortness of breath. All a little uncomfortable, but fine," tweeted New York City emergency room physician Craig Spencer recently.

"​​And almost every single patient that I've taken care of that needed to be admitted for Covid has been unvaccinated," he added. "Every one with profound shortness of breath. Every one whose oxygen dropped when they walked. Every one needing oxygen to breathe regularly."

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Other Common COVID Symptoms

Sick woman with fever checking her temperature with a thermometer at home

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

RELATED: I'm a Virus Expert and Here's How to Escape COVID 


Is It Omicron?

Woman taking COVID test.

So how do you tell if your cough or sore throat is a cold or COVID? You really can't, experts say.

Their advice: If you're having any symptoms that are unusual, get tested for COVID ASAP and self-isolate until you know the results.

If you test positive for COVID, the CDC now advises that you isolate for five days after the date any symptoms started (as long as your symptoms are improving and you've been fever-free for at least 24 hours without using any fever-reducing medications). If you test positive but don't have symptoms, you should isolate for five days from the date of your COVID test. 

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Woman wearing face mask looking at camera showing thumbs up after getting the covid-19 vaccine.

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.

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