When you should get a Covid test – the 5 Omicron symptoms you need to know

Omicron: Five symptoms to look out for

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The arrival of Omicron in the UK just over a month ago has driven a sharp rise in the daily number of coronavirus cases being reported. However experts warn Omicron symptoms may differ from the original three key symptoms Britons have been told to watch out for. Omicron is thought to have five top symptoms, none of which match the ‘official’ three. What are they?

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the main three symptoms the Government and the NHS have told the public to watch out for have remained consistent: a high temperature, a new and persistent cough and a change to your sense of smell or taste.

However, the experiences of people who’ve had Covid, and data from other studies such as the ZOE COVID study suggest the symptoms of coronavirus can be much more varied.

In fact, according to ZOE, only 50 percent of people with Covid experience the ‘top three’ symptoms.

The data available so far suggests Omicron symptoms could easily be mistaken for a common cold.

What are the top five symptoms of Omicron?

According to the ZOE COVID study, the top five symptoms of both Omicron and Delta are:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat

People have also reported a loss of appetite and ‘brain fog’ as symptoms.

If you have any of these symptoms, feel as though you have a cold, or have any of the main three symptoms (a fever, new cough and loss of taste or smell) you should isolate and arrange a PCR test.

What should you do if you have Covid symptoms?

Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app, said: “As our latest data shows, Omicron symptoms are predominantly cold symptoms, runny nose, headache, sore throat and sneezing, so people should stay at home as it might well be COVID.”

If you have the symptoms of coronavirus, you should isolate and arrange a PCR test, even if you’re fully vaccinated.

You can get a PCR test by booking one for free on the GOV.UK website, which will direct you to a PCR testing facility near you.

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Alternatively, you can arrange for a PCR testing kit to be sent to you by post, where you will perform the test yourself and then send back your swab to be tested.

The Government’s health advice is to get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have symptoms, and definitely within eight days of your symptoms starting.

If you can’t use the online service, you can arrange a test over the phone by calling 119.

You should use lateral flow tests (LFTs) regularly if you’re heading out to gatherings and want to take a precaution, but LFTs are not recommended if you have symptoms.

Even if you’ve taken an LFT and received a negative result, if you have possible coronavirus symptoms you should take a PCR test.

If you’ve tested positive on an LFT, you will also need to follow this up with a PCR test to confirm the result.

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