coronavirus symptoms

First COVID Symptoms: How to Recognize the Onset of the Virus

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

After recent declines in COVID cases, several subvariants of omicron are making significant gains in the United States, with some studies indicating that they could potentially do a better job of evading existing vaccines and immunity.

According to the latest updates from the CDC, the BA.5 lineage of the omicron variant is now the most prevalent strain of the virus in the United States, responsible for nearly 54% of cases.

The BA.4 lineage is also gaining ground, responsible for 16.5% of cases, officials say.

With those case trends, many individuals are curious about what symptoms typically appear first with a COVID infection, and how quickly those symptoms can appear.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, early symptoms of COVID-19 typically include fatigue, headache, sore throat or a fever.

Some patients also experience a loss of taste or smell as an early or their first symptom, according to experts.

Experts do caution patients that the severity, or even the type, of initial symptoms can vary widely by the person.

The CDC says that the median time for the appearance of symptoms if a patient is infected with the different lineages of omicron could be just three days.

In general, symptoms will typically appear 2-to-14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the CDC. Symptoms of the virus include:

-Fever or chills


-Shortness of breath


-Muscle or body aches


-New loss of taste or smell

-Sore throat

-Congestion or runny nose

-Nausea or vomiting


Patients are urged to seek emergency medical attention if they experience:

-Trouble breathing

-Persistent chest pain or pressure

-New confusion

-Inability to wake or stay awake

-Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds

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