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COVID-19: Is It Omicron Or A Common Cold? These Symptoms Could Provide Answer

COVID-19 Photo Credit: Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

The highly contagious COVID-19 Omicron variant has been compared to the common cold since they share several similar symptoms, including a sore throat, running nose, and sneezing.

But the Omicron strain also has several symptoms more similar to the initial COVID-19 virus.

They include fever, chills, and "as it progresses, people will start having cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing,” Dr. Hai Shao, an infectious disease physician in San Diego, California, told CBS 8 KFMB-TV in San Diego.

“A unique feature of COVID-19 is loss of sense of smell and taste, which you will not find in common cold viruses,” Shao added. “The other thing is that a common cold tends not to give high fever and sometimes severe headaches, which omicron is reporting these symptoms as predominant. 

"If you do have those symptoms, it’s much more concerning that you may have gotten COVID than the common cold virus.”

A ZOE study conducted in the United Kingdom analyzed thousands of COVID symptoms uploaded to an app by the British public amid the start of the Omicron outbreak.

The top five symptoms recorded in the app were:

  • Runny nose,
  • Headache,
  • Fatigue (both mild or severe),
  • Sneezing,
  • Sore throat.

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