Although many COVID restrictions have now been lifted in the UK, the official list of COVID symptoms has recently been expanded – to include nine extra symptoms.
Ths list of symptoms of COVID now includes things such as diarrhoea, muscle pains and a sore throat – many of which are similar to cold symptoms.
So, how can you tell if you’ve got COVID or a bad cold?
What are the official symptoms of COVID?
The original list of COVID symptoms just contained three symptoms, which were:
- a new, continuous cough
- a fever or high temperature
- loss of or change to smell or taste
Nine new symptoms were recently added to this list, and these are:
- shortness of breath
- feeling tired or exhausted, lack of energy
- muscle aches or pains
- headache that lasts longer than usual
- blocked or runny nose
- sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
- loss of appetite
- feeling sick or being sick
It is not possible to tell if you have COVID, a cold or flu, or another infection, just based on these symptoms alone – which is why it is advisable to take a Peace of Mind PCR Test so that you discover if it is COVID before you are at risk of spreading it to other people.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, plus a high temperature and you don’t feel well enough to go to school or work, then you should stay home and take a test to confirm.
Is a change in my sense of smell or loss of taste still important?
A change in your sense of smell or loss of taste was one of the first three key symptoms of COVID identified during the first outbreak, but this symptom seems to be much less common with the new Omicron variant of the infection.
The ZOE COVID Study app has revealed the five most common symptoms experienced by people with positive COVID tests are:
- runny nose (83%)
- fatigue (71%)
- sore throat (69%)
- headache (69%)
- sneezing (58%)
How can I find out if I have a fever or high temperature?
A high temperature for adults is classed as 37.8C or advice and usually happens when the body is fighting off any infection – not just the Coronavirus infection. A high temperature is unlikely with a cold,, however.
If you don’t have a thermometer to check your exact temperature, then you can check yourself or the person you are worried about by feeling their back or chest to see if it feels hot.
How do I know which symptoms mean I should stay at home?
If you live in England and have any of the symptoms listed above plus a high temperature, and you don’t feel well enough to go to school or work, then you are advised to stay at home.
You should also avoid contact with other people, in particular those who are at risk of being very unwell if they contract COVID.
People who live in England and are displaying COVID symptoms are no longer advised to take a COVID test, but it might be wise to do so just for your own peace of mind. If you do take a test and get a positive result, then you should stay at home and avoid contact with people for five days from the day you took your test. Most people will not be infectious after five days, but it is possible for some people to pass on the COVID virus for up to ten days.
People in Northern Ireland or Scotland with symptoms are still being advised to take a PCR test. If you are in Wales then a lateral flow test (LFT) is advised. Anyone who tests positive in any of these nations should isolate.
How can I reduce the spread of COVID in my household?
If you test positive for COVID, then you should try to keep your distance from the people that you share a house with, especially from those who have a weaker immune system than most.
Cleaning frequently touched surfaces like remote controls and door handles can also help to protect people in your home from COVID and other viruses.
What should I do if I can’t stay at home?
If you feel unwell but have to leave the house, you can reduce the risk of passing on the virus by:
- avoiding crowded places such as public transport and large indoor gatherings
- wearing a well-fitting mask
- exercising outdoors
- covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze
- washing your hands frequently
What if I am worried about my symptoms?
Most people can treat themselves for COVID at home, by getting plenty of rest and keeping hydrated – similar to any other mild respiratory illness.
You could also take paracetamol to relieve headaches and muscle aches or pains, but they won’t “get rid” of COVID or other viral infections, they will just help you to feel better.
If you are having trouble breathing then you should call your doctor or the NHS 111 service. If you get sudden shortness of breath then call 999 immediately.
The NHS also advises that you:
- call 111 if you are worried about a child under 5
- call 999 if you are worried about your child getting worse or you think there’s something seriously wrong
Peace of Mind PCR Test
If you have symptoms of COVID or want to ensure you are not currently infected with COVID before going to an event, meeting a friend or visiting an elderly relative, then our gold-standard PCR test will give you the ultimate peace of mind.
According to the NHS, symptoms of COVID in adults and children can include:
- A high temperature or shivering
- A new continuous cough
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or exhausted
- An aching body
- A headache
- A sore throat
- A blocked or runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling sick or being sick
The symptoms of COVID are very similar symptoms to those of other viral infections, such as colds and flu. If you are not sure what your symptoms are indicating, then it may be worth taking a COVID PCR test to give yourself peace of mind. Free NHS testing for COVID has now ended, so the only option you have in this case is to purchase a test from a private provider.
Fit2FlyTest are proud to be one of the few private providers of COVID tests with our own in-house laboratories. We are not a middleman sending your test off to a laboratory to be tested, we are the laboratory.
Buy your Peace of Mind PCR Test from us, take it in the comfort of your own home, and then use the prepaid return label included to send your sample back to our laboratories. We will have your results within 6-8 hours of receiving your sample, giving you peace of mind that you can return to your daily life safely.
When analysed by Public Health England and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust, our test correctly identified all positive and negative samples without exception. With 100% specificity toward the SARS-CoV-2 Virus, this kit will only detect the presence of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
- NHS – Coronavirus
- Government – Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance
- Worldometer – Coronavirus Statistics
- World Health Organisation – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)