What are the signs of an omicron, delta, flu or cold infection? Major symptom check


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The most common symptoms of an infection with the coronavirus were long coughs, fever and runny nose as well as disorders of the sense of smell and taste.

Major symptom check: Cough, runny nose, headache: Anyone who feels sick these days quickly asks themselves the Corona question. But which symptoms are typical for the Delta and Omikron variants that are currently in circulation? And what are the signs of a harmless cold?

Major symptom check

Disease symptoms in comparison: Cold, flu, corona

SymptomColdFluCorona-Variant Delta (B.1.617.2)Corona-Variant Omikron (B.1.1.529)
Stuffy or runny noseoftenoccasionallyoftenoften, according to the RKI 54% of all patients with symptoms
Sore throatoftenoccasionallyoften, according to Zoe around 50% of all sick peopleoften, according to the RKI 39% of all patients with symptoms
Headacheoccasionallyoftenoften, according to Zoe up to 70% of all sick peopleaccording to initial data as with Delta
Body achesRareoftenoccasionally, according to Zoe up to 33% of all sufferersoccasionally
Dry coughRareoftenaccording to Zoe 46% of all sick peopleAccording to Zoe, a little less than Delta, according to the RKI 57% of all patients with symptoms
FeverRareoftenFrequently according to the RKI, according to Zoe 40% of all sick peopleprobably like Delta
Difficulty breathingRareoftenFrequency increases with age, but especially shortness of breath less often than in the wild typeFrequency increases with age
Disturbance of taste and smellRareoccasionallyoften, but less often than in the wild type. According to Zoe, up to 60% of all sick peopleaccording to initial data a little less often than with Delta
Tiredness or exhaustionoccasionallyoftenoften, according to Zoe up to 80% of all sick peopleoften
Diarrhea or stomach painoccasionallyrarely / occasionallyoccasionally, according to Zoe, up to 30 percentoccasionally
Heavy night sweatsRareSweating is possiblenoaccording to initial data from South Africa frequently
Expaturm Source: Robert Koch Institute (RKI), ZOE, Swiss Federal Office of Public Health

Note: The data on Delta and Omikron is not yet clear. The frequency of the common cold and flu comes primarily from the RKI, ZOE and the Federal Office of Public Health (Switzerland). Depending on the study and the data available, the information on the frequency of a symptom may differ.

What is already known about a corona infection

A sore throat, a runny nose and annoying headaches were the classic symptoms of a cold or flu in the time before Corona.

Now it’s different: The Covid-19 disease caused by the coronavirus can cause very similar symptoms. And yet there are some symptoms that can be ascribed to one or the other pathogen. The comparison table above shows which symptoms can occur with a cold or flu, with the delta variant of the corona virus, which is still strongly represented in Germany, and the new omicron mutation.

Only a PCR test provides a clear result as to whether you are really infected with Corona. The PCR test is still considered to be the most reliable method for clarifying potential infections. Even experienced doctors cannot determine unequivocally which infection is present on the basis of symptoms alone, without the tests.

Major symptom check

Major symptom check: These can be symptoms of a cold

Colds occur especially in the cold autumn and winter months. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the following symptoms are usually insidious and can include the following symptoms:

  • a blocked or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • a headache
  • muscle pain
  • a cough
  • Sneeze
  • an elevated but rather moderate temperature
  • Pressure in the ears and face
  • Loss of taste and smell

Major symptom check: These symptoms indicate flu

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the flu is characterized by a sudden onset of illness with a severe feeling of illness . The following symptoms can then occur:

  • sudden fever – a temperature of 38 degrees or more
  • Body aches
  • Tiredness or exhaustion
  • dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • a headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea or stomach pain
  • Nausea and malaise
Major symptom check

Major symptom check: These symptoms could indicate Covid-19

According to the RKI, the most commonly recorded symptoms of the coronavirus are:

  • to cough
  • fever
  • sniffles
  • Disturbance of the sense of smell and / or taste

Here, the course of the disease varies widely in symptoms and severity . Asymptomatic infections up to acute or chronic inflammation of the lung tissue with lung failure and death can occur.

Corona mutations lead to new symptoms

Mutations always produce new variants of Sars-CoV-2. It is a perfectly normal process for a virus to change. With the Sars-Cov-2, virologists assume that the virus has already mutated a thousand times. Most mutations hardly differ from the original type (wild type) and therefore do not play a major role. Only a few corona variants such as Delta and the new omicron mutation are observed and examined in studies, as they are considered to be particularly contagious, for example.

New symptoms: Reports and experiences from Great Britain also show that the Delta and Omicron variants cause further symptoms compared to the original variant. There is the “Zoe Covid Symptoms” study at King’s College London, which, according to its own information, carries out one of the largest evaluations on Covid-19. More than four million people already take part in Zoe via the app and can provide information about their state of health there – if they are infected with Sars-CoV-2, also about their symptoms.

Major symptom check: These symptoms are likely with Delta

Since the delta variant has dominated the infection process, the most common symptoms mentioned in the ZOE app are:

  • a runny nose
  • a headache
  • Sneeze
  • Sore throat
  • persistent cough

The symptoms are thus similar to the symptoms of a conventional cold, which can easily lead to confusion. Fever is also still common, but the classic symptoms known so far, such as shortness of breath or loss of the sense of taste and smell, occur much less often than in the wild type.

In general, according to the ZOE researchers, vaccinated and unvaccinated people reported similar Covid 19 symptoms in the app.

NOTE: However, those who were already vaccinated reported fewer symptoms over a shorter period of time, suggesting that they become less seriously ill and recover faster

Major symptom check

Major symptom check: These symptoms occur with Omikron

The symptoms in corona patients who have become infected with the Omikron variant differ at least partially from those in Delta, according to initial data. Using the latest data from ZOE, where the omicron prevalence is higher than other regions of the UK, the Zoe data scientists analyzed the symptom data of the positively registered cases.

As a result, fewer and fewer people had the three classic symptoms of fever, cough or loss of the sense of smell or taste.

However, the researchers identified the five most common symptoms:

  • a runny nose
  • a headache
  • Tiredness (light or heavy)
  • Sneeze
  • Sore throat

Brain fog was also mentioned as a common symptom, as was loss of appetite . The latter symptom is not known at all from the Delta variant, for example, but was mentioned more frequently in the British study.

According to scientists from South Africa, another symptom of infections with the Omicron variant is noticeable in patients: heavy night sweats. The doctor Amir Khan had told the ITV television station that this symptom occurs very often. “It’s about those night sweats after which you have to change.”

RKI publishes first Omikron numbers in its weekly report

According to the latest RKI weekly reporting on Omikron in Germany, patients have so far been most likely to have over

  • Runny nose  (54 percent),
  • Cough  (57 percent) and
  • Sore throat  (39 percent) complain.

However, the database for Omikron in Germany is significantly worse than in Great Britain, where many more people have already been infected with the variant.

The above information on the symptoms of corona, a cold or flue is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. Never disregard the advice of a medical professional, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

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