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Sure Signs You've Had Delta, According to Doctors

These warning signs are ones to watch.

The Delta variant was first reported over the summer, and it is reported to be worse and more contagious than COVID. Even vaccinated people are still likely to catch it. The symptoms of the Delta variant are similar to COVID, but there are some crucial differences. According to health experts, here are sure signs you have or had the Delta variant. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


You May Have an Earache

Woman touching her ears.

According to Dr. Nicole Frommann, the Medical Director of TGH Urgent Care, earache is becoming a symptom of the Delta variant. "The reason we are seeing earaches more often is because sore throat is so prominent, and the earache is coming from sore throat," she told WFLA. Tennessee Titans head coach, Mike Vrabel, said he had an earache before testing positive. "This morning I woke up with a sore throat and earache, so I went and got tested," he said.

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You May Have a Sore Throat

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

Similar to the COVID-19 virus, the delta variant causes a sore throat, and this is shown to be a cause of other symptoms, like earaches. "We sometimes see earaches, but usually associated with other symptoms especially sore throat," says Dr. Frommann to WFLA.

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You May Have Cold-Like Symptoms, Coughing, Sneezing, etc

Sick woman with flu at home

Coughing is one of the main symptoms of the COVID virus, and it is also a symptom of the Delta variant. However, coughing will usually be accompanied by cold-like symptoms, mainy runny nose and sneezing, unlike the original strain. "The symptoms we are seeing now are much more commonly identified with the common cold," Dr. Andrew T. Chan, an epidemiologist and one of the study's lead investigators, in The New York Times. "We are still seeing people presenting with a cough, but we are also seeing a higher prevalence of things like runny nose and sneezing." WebMD reported that coughing is out of the top 10 signs, and that runny nose has moved up. 

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You May Have a Headache

Sick woman suffering from head ache

Headaches are one of the top symptoms of the Delta variant, according to WebMD. Professor Tim Spector, head of the Zoe COVID Symptom Study, says headaches are incredibly common with the Delta variant. He told BBC, "The number one symptom is headache, followed by runny nose, sore throat and fever. Not the old classic symptoms." Inci Yildirim, MD, PhD, a Yale medicine pediatric infectious disease specialist and vaccinologist agreed with Spector. "It seems like cough and loss of smells are less common," she says to Yale Medicine. "And headache, sore throat, runny nose, and fever are present based on surveys in the U.K."

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You May Feel Off

Bored girlfriend listening to a man in cafe,

Professor Spector says to BBC the Delta variant causes people to feel "off," and encourages others to get tested if they feel off. "People might think they've just got some sort of seasonal cold and they still go out to parties and they might spread around to six other people. We think this is fuelling a lot of the problem. The message here is that if you are young, you are going to get milder symptoms anyway. It might just feel like a bad cold or some funny 'off' feeling — but do stay at home and do get a test."

RELATED: Most People Catch COVID This Way, Experts Warn


Other Symptoms to Watch For

woman covered by a blanket on the sofa with high fever and flu

If you experience any of the following, you may have COVID: 

  • 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

If you think you may have COVID, get a test. And 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.

Anna Bechtel
Anna Bechtel is a freelance writer currently based in Hamden, CT. Read more about Anna