covid symptoms

These Are Some of the Most Common and Not-So-Common COVID Symptoms in 2022

While vertigo may be experienced after COVID-19, it has also been reported after cases of influenza and ear infections

With cold and flu season near as temperatures drop, and experts watching for another potential surge in COVID cases. many might be wondering what exactly is behind their symptoms.

Some of COVID's most common symptoms, particularly in 2022 so far, overlap with several conditions, including cold and flu.

While upper respiratory symptoms are currently the most tell-tale sign of the virus, some changes in symptoms have been observed as the virus has evolved.

"We see a lot of things happening with the virus changing, you know," said Dr. Isaac Ghinai earlier this month, a medical director for the Chicago Department of Public Health who oversees COVID-19 testing and laboratory surveillance. "Omicron and its sub-lineages are an example of the virus changing a bit, and there are indications that different lineages of the virus can cause slightly different symptoms."

Ghinai said that differences in symptoms may also be impacted by the introduction of vaccines and their subsequent widespread utilization nearly one year into the pandemic.

"There are some indications for example, with omicron that the loss of taste and smell is less common than it was with some of the earlier lineages. All of this is also impacted probably by the fact that many more people are vaccinated than they were before," Ghinai said.

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

A study by researchers at the University of Southern California found fever may be first, as well as a cough and muscle pain. Then, those infected will likely experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Unlike other respiratory illnesses such as MERS and SARS, COVID patients will likely develop nausea and vomiting before diarrhea, the researchers found.

Digestive symptoms, in some instances, may be the first sign someone has contracted COVID. They have been known to develop at the beginning of an infection, with respiratory symptoms possibly following a day later, according to an article from Emerson Health.

Still, some symptoms, such as shortness of breath, have become less prevalent as the virus continues to mutate. Dr. Sharon Welbel, the director of Hosptial Epidemiology and Infection Control for Cook County Health said earlier this month that fevers and coughs have become more common symptoms in recent months.

"In terms of symptoms and what people have it's been so incredibly heterogeneous," Welbel said. "I find with omicron we do know that still the most common is fever, cough - not so much shortness of breath anymore."

As for the flu, the season has not "started in any kind of serious way" yet, according to Chicago's top doctor. In the meantime, health experts are warning residents of the symptoms of both the flu and COVID-19 while encouraging vaccination for both.

According to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, both viruses have several strains that are active at one time, causing some minor differences in symptoms from one case to another.

With COVID symptoms and flu symptoms often being extremely similar, Arwady said there's only one way to know for sure what virus you may have contracted.

"Typically people who get influenza tend to have fevers, tend to have body aches, tend to feel like they have been hit by a truck and can feel pretty sick. Of course though, people can also get those with COVID. So the bottom line is, that you need to get a test basically to know for sure," Arwady said.

But what about some of the less-common symptoms?

During a Facebook Live Tuesday, Arwady answered a question regarding vertigo, a symptom that has been reported in some while recovering from COVID.

Arwady said that while patients may be more likely to develop vertigo while recovering from COVID, the symptom is not specific to the virus and has been linked to other infections during recovery.

"We see people after an ear infection, after a flu infection, a number of things can make people more likely to develop vertigo. And so generally, you may be a little more likely to develop vertigo if you've recently recovered from COVID," Arwady said.

As cases continue to occur, many are curious about other symptoms, like rashes or headaches.

"We're seeing a lot of more sore throats, fatigue, still seem some fever, and runny nose," Arwady said, stressing that while headache and rash can be symptoms of COVID, neither of them are the "one of the top ones."

As for the symptoms that often stick around the longest? A cough.

"That's the thing that's going to last the longest, almost always," Chicago's top doctor Allison Arwady said at a press conference earlier this month. "A cough tends to be the most lingering effect. That's true whenever you have any viral infection. You can be feeling totally better, and you're still going to have some irritation."

The latest BA.5 variant remains the top driver of COVID cases in the United States, though newer variants are slowly starting to gain steam. New omicron-specific booster shots have recently become readily available, with health officials encouraging widespread inoculation ahead of an expected uptick in cases in the fall and winter months.

Regardless of the changes in symptoms, Ghinai said getting vaccinated and boosted can significantly improve symptoms of the virus if infected.

"Certainly, the severity of symptoms if you're vaccinated is much less and the severity of symptoms if you're boosted is even less, so that can kind of change how it looks," Ghinai said.

The CDC says that the median time for the appearance of symptoms in a patient 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. How long they last, however, can depend on the person, the severity of their infection and whether or not they end up with long COVID.

"Some people say they feel better in a day, some people say they still have lingering symptoms after three weeks," Welbel said.

Most common 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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