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These are the most common COVID symptoms right now: study

(NEXSTAR) – As with any virus, the symptoms of COVID have changed, and a new study shows that they have, again, changed slightly.

Symptoms of the virus can change for a number of reasons, such as vaccines and new variants. When the BA.5 omicron subvariant became the dominant strain in the United States, for example, COVID patients began to report extreme fatigue more often and loss of taste or smell less.

The new symptoms are linked to new dominant subvariants — BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 now account for the majority of reported cases in the United States, according to the CDC.

The ZOE Health Study – a joint effort by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, King’s College London, Stanford University School of Medicine and the ZOE Health App – has shared an updated list of the main COVID symptoms currently reported by its participants last week.

Looking at data from COVID-positive study participants for the 30 days leading up to December 5, researchers found that a sore throat was the most commonly reported symptom, followed by a runny nose and a stuffy nose.

Here are the top 10 symptoms of COVID reported in the ZOE Healthy Study since early November:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Runny nose
  3. Block the nose
  4. To sneeze
  5. Cough without phlegm
  6. Headache
  7. Cough with phlegm
  8. Hoarsely
  9. Muscle aches and pains
  10. Alteration of smell

With the exception of sneezing and hoarse voice, all of these symptoms have been linked to COVID since the start of the pandemic, according to CDC data. Gastrointestinal symptoms of diarrhea and nausea or vomiting and some “traditional” symptoms: loss of smell, shortness of breath, and fever are notably absent from this list compared to current CDC guidelines.

According to ZOE, traditional symptoms have been reported less frequently in recent COVID patients. In an October report, ZOE listed fever as a commonly reported symptom for unvaccinated COVID patients. A recent breakdown of symptoms based on vaccination status was not immediately available.

These symptoms of COVID are also similar to those of influenza and RSV. The three respiratory viruses – currently prevalent in the United States, causing a “triple epidemic” – have overlapping symptoms, with some variations. A chart from Children’s National Hospital recently compared symptoms associated with COVID, influenza and RSV at a glance.

The severity of symptoms can vary from person to person, and treatment methods depend on the virus. While reviewing your symptoms is a good place to start, doctors recommend getting tested to help inform next steps.

Alix Martichoux contributed to this report.


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