CORONAVIRUS cases are still circulating across the country so it’s more important than ever that you know the signs.
The surge of new variants has meant that there are now a range of symptoms you should be looking out for as well as the three main signs listed by the NHS.
Over the last few days snow has blanketed much of the UK so it’s likely that many of us will be feeling the chill and could also be experiencing cold and flu symptoms as temperatures drop.
Brits in several areas have been urged to get a test regardless of whether they have symptoms after variants were detected in areas such as Manchester, Surrey and Sefton in Merseyside.
It’s important that if you think you have Covid-19 you get a test and isolate in order to stop the virus spreading in your community.
But how do you know if you have Covid-19, the Kent variant or the common cold or flu?
The NHS states that the three main symptoms of Covid-19 are a new persistent cough, a loss of taste and smell (anosmia) or a high temperature.
However new research published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that many Brits aren’t suffering from some of the main symptoms that we have previously been told to look out for.
The research showed that a cough remains the most common sign of Covid, affecting 24 per cent of those who test positive.
However, the second and third most common signs are not a fever or a loss of taste and smell.
Instead the ONS found that a headache affected 24 per cent of people who tested positive and fatigue was reported as a symptom by 20 per cent.
By comparison, a high temperature was the fifth most common sign – affecting almost 13 per cent with a positive test, according to the ONS.
Doctors have also previously urged the government to add runny nose, sore throat and headache to the key Covid-19 symptoms after they found that many of their patients displayed these symptoms before testing positive for Covid.
Experts have also previously highlighted that symptoms are different for children who contract they virus.
The five main symptoms in children include fatigue, headache, fever, sore throat and a loss of appetite.
The most common symptoms reported by people with a positive Covid-19 test in England between October 1 2020 and January 30, 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)
The Kent Covid variant has swiftly become the most dominant in parts of the UK, having emerged only a few months ago.
Today a Covid doorstep testing blitz has been launched after the new Kent variant was found in Manchester.
Thousands of extra tests will be rolled out in the region from Tuesday after two unconnected households were found to be infected with the E484K mutation, Manchester City Council said.
This follows similar surges in testing in Worcestershire, Sefton, Merseyside, and areas in Bristol and south Gloucestershire, after variants were found.
The more contagious and potentially more deadly strain has different symptoms to look out for, early data suggests.
Data shows the most common symptoms of the Kent strain differ from other variants prominent in the UK.
The Office for National Statistics – which tracks the outbreak by swabbing thousands of people in the UK every week – recently published a report into the characteristics of the Kent strain.
The preliminary findings were based on the swab tests of people in private households in England between November 15 to January 16, and their self-reported symptoms.
The most common symptom of the Kent variant, reported by 35 per cent of people who tested positive, was a cough.
The NHS describes the cough as “new and continuous”.
Close behind was fatigue and muscle weakness, affecting 32 per cent of cases, and headache with 31 per cent.
Muscle aches were reported by a quarter of those testing positive for the Kent strain, followed by a sore throat (22 per cent) and fever (22 per cent).
A loss of taste or a loss of smell was reported by only 15 per cent of cases each.
Dr Belinda Griffiths from The Fleet Street Clinic in London said symptoms of a common cold include: sneezing, running nose and a sore throat.
In most cases of a cold – Dr Griffiths said you won’t develop a high temperature – which is one of the NHS’s key Covid symptoms to look out for.
Dr Griffiths said: “In most cases, you will not develop a temperature.
“Fever chills and muscle aches rarely occur in the common cold, but can happen.
“With a common cold you can usually expect to see an improvement after less than a week, although this can vary.”
For many people having the flu will feel like an exaggerated cold.
But it’s important that you take these symptoms seriously as some flu symptoms do cross over with those experienced by people who have developed the Kent variant.
The NHS states that flu symptoms can come on very quickly.
They can include a sudden high temperature of 38C or above, an aching body and feeling tired or exhausted.
They also include a dry cough which could be similar to the cough experienced by people who have contracted the coronavirus.
The NHS states that the symptoms are similar for children, but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.