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Sore throat and cough top symptoms that could be Covid

Top symptoms that could be Covid are a sore throat or a cough, according to data from 17,500 people who said they had tested positive for the virus this week.

Other common ones reported were headache and blocked nose.

A high temperature or fever and loss of smell or taste - ones which the NHS list high up as likely Covid symptoms - were far less common.

A hoarse voice, sneezing, tiredness and muscle aches scored higher.

The top 20 Covid symptoms, in descending order, according to the data from the Zoe App study are:

  • Sore throat - reported by 58%

  • Headache - 49%

  • Blocked nose - 40%

  • Cough no phlegm - 40%

  • Runny nose - 40%

  • Cough with phlegm - 37%

  • Hoarse voice - 35%

  • Sneezing - 32%

  • Fatigue - 27%

  • Muscle pains/aches - 25%

  • Dizzy light-headed - 18%

  • Swollen neck glands - 15%

  • Eye soreness - 14%

  • Altered smell - 13%

  • Chest pain tightness - 13%

  • Fever - 13%

  • Chills or shivers - 12%

  • Shortness of breath - 11%

  • Earache - 11%

  • Loss of smell - 10%

The React-1 study has, each month, been sending 150,000 randomly selected people across England swab tests to do at home.

Findings from that show the symptoms people have with Covid have changed as the pandemic has evolved.

It could be down to how the virus has been changing or mutating over time, scientists believe.

Several Covid variants have emerged since the original Wuhan strain, with the latest one being Omicron.

The React-1 researchers, from Imperial College London, say loss of sense of smell and taste appears to be less common with this variant. Instead, people are reporting more cold and flu-like symptoms.

They looked at original Omicron - known as BA.1 and BA.2 - that was spreading in March 2022.

Since then, two fast-spreading new subvariants of Omicron called BA.4 and BA.5 have dominated, causing more new infections.

An estimated 2.7 million people in the UK, or one in 25, are thought to have Covid.

Prof Tim Spector, who runs the Zoe Health Study, said: "Covid is still rampant in the population.

"Even if people have had a past infection and are fully vaccinated, people are still catching it.

"Although we all want to make the most of the good weather, people will need to decide for themselves whether going to large events, working from the office or using busy public transport is worth the risk."

Both the Zoe study and the React-1 study had been funded by the government until recently.

Source: Michelle Roberts, Digital health editor, BBC News


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