Have I got Covid, a bad cold or something else?

What are the symptoms to watch out for?

The new list of Covid symptoms has been expanded from the original three:

  • a new, ongoing cough
  • fever or high temperature
  • loss or change in smell or taste

It now includes nine other symptoms that are also common signs of other respiratory infections:

  • difficulty breathing
  • feeling tired or run down, lack of energy
  • muscle aches or pain
  • headache that lasts longer than usual
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • Sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • feel sick or be sick

It is not possible to tell if you have Covid-19, the flu or another respiratory infection from symptoms alone, the official advice says.

But spotting these symptoms can help reduce the spread to other, more vulnerable people.

If you have any of these symptoms plus a high fever or don’t feel well enough to go to work or school, we recommend that you stay home.

Is the change or loss of taste and smell still significant?

This was one of three key Covid symptoms identified during the first two years of the pandemic, but it appears to be much less common with Omicron infections.

The five most common symptoms recently experienced by people with positive Covid tests are runny nose (83%), fatigue (71%), sore throat (69%), headache (69%) and sneezing (68%), according to the ZOE. Covid symptoms app.

How can I know if I have a fever or high temperature?

A high temperature is 37.8°C or higher, and it can occur when the body is fighting an infection, not just the coronavirus.

If you don’t have a thermometer, check to see if you, or the person you care about, feel warm to the touch on your chest or back.

A high temperature is unlikely with a cold.

How do I know when to stay home?

if you have any of these symptoms Other than a high temperature or not feeling well enough for normal activities, you are advised to stay home in England.

You should avoid contact with other people, particularly those who are at high risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract Covid.

People with symptoms are no longer advised to be tested for Covid in England, but if you do have a positive result you should try to stay home and avoid contact with other people for five days after the day you were tested.

Many people will no longer be infectious after five days, but some can still spread the virus for up to 10 days.

People with symptoms are still advised to have a PCR test in Scotland and Northern Ireland or a lateral flow test (LFT) in Wales. Anyone who tests positive in all three nations is asked to self-isolate.

When testing in Scotland ends, people who are not feeling well will be advised to stay home until they feel better.

How can I reduce the spread in my home?

The advice is to try to keep your distance from the people you live with, particularly those whose immune systems are weaker than normal.

You can also open bedroom windows for 10 minutes after someone with symptoms has left.

Cleaning frequently touched surfaces, like door handles and remote controls, can protect people in your home from COVID and other viruses.

What happens if I have to leave the house?

If you can’t stay home while you’re feeling sick, you can reduce your chances of spreading the infection you have by:

  • wearing a well-fitting face mask
  • Avoid crowded places like public transportation or large indoor gatherings.
  • exercise outdoors
  • cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands often

Who is at high risk for Covid?

For most people who have been vaccinated, and children, even if they haven’t had a shot, Covid infections are usually mild and usually last up to a week.

But some groups are still at higher risk and need protection against Covid and other respiratory infections, including:

  • Old people
  • those who are pregnant
  • those who are not vaccinated
  • People of any age whose immune system means they are at higher risk for serious illness.
  • people of any age with certain long-term conditions

Some very young children who were born prematurely or who have heart problems are also at risk for RSV, another respiratory virus.

What if I am worried about my symptoms?

Most people can be treated for Covid at home, like any other mild respiratory illness. You should get plenty of rest and drink water to stay hydrated.

You can take acetaminophen to relieve headaches and muscle aches or pains, but antibiotics won’t work against viral infections like Covid.

If you are very concerned about sudden shortness of breath, call 999.

  • call 111 if you are concerned about a baby or child under five
  • If your child seems very unwell, is getting worse, or you think something is seriously wrong, call 999
  • do not delay in seeking help if you are worried, trust your instincts