The earliest Omicron symptom you must not ignore – and how fast it strikes

OMICRON is now the dominant strain of Covid across the UK but symptoms differ from the variants that came before it.

Most people who catch Omicron say it feels like a cold, but there is one early symptom that you shouldn't ignore.

Doctors have said that one of the first signs of Omicron can be detected in your throat.

Experts have said that if you catch the bug you will know within 48 hours.

While a sore throat is a common symptom to experience with a cold it's important that if you have a sore throat or you feel unwell then you take a test, just to make sure it's not Covid.

That way you can prevent the illness spreading to other people.

A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other Covid strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

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Some long-term Omicron symptoms can last for months – here's how to relieve them

The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

The NHS still state that the three main symptoms of coronavirus are a new persistent cough, a loss of taste and smell and a high temperature.

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Data from an Omicron outbreak in Norway showed that 72 per cent of people who tested positive had a sore throat.

The patients said that the symptom last about three days.

Dr Jorge Moreno who works at an outpatient clinic in Connecticut, US and is an assistant professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine, said that most patients coming in are reporting the same ailment.

He told Insider that most people testing positive have a dry, sore throat that causes sharp pain when they swallow.

"It's a very prominent symptom. It's not like a little tickle in the throat. If they're reporting it, they're saying that their throat feels raw", he said.

Dr Moreno said for people who have been vaccinated the symptoms aren't as bad and that for most, the illness is like a mild cold.

He added: "A couple days later, they're ready to go back to exercising or doing their regular activity."

Data from the ZOE Symptom Tracker app shows that the symptoms highlighted by the NHS are no longer the main signs to watch out for.

Professor Tim Spector of King's College London and head of the ZOE Symptom Tracker app said that if you've got cold-like symptoms you are more likely to have Covid.

Prof Spector explained: "Over 50 per cent of people with a cold-like symptom have PCR proven Covid."

He said that this data shows that the restrictions, social distancing and possibly mask wearing has had a greater effect on colds and flu than Omicron, which is even better at infecting us.

The most common Covid symptoms you need to know

As variants have progressed and changed so has the list of symptoms, and the top symptoms to look out for are currently listed as:

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • persistent cough
  • fatigue
  • loss of taste and smell

Experts have also warned that various skin rashes have also presented in people who contract Omicron.

People reporting symptoms say that they have experienced hives that come on suddenly.

It can show up in the form of raised bumps and is very itchy – it can often start with intense itchy palms or soles.

"It does suggest that these symptoms are of shorter duration than they are of Delta.

"People are having symptoms for a shorter amount of time, especially in that first week."

Prof Spector said that this suggests that the isolation period of a week could be reduced to five days.

His comment comes as it was announced today that Health Secretary Sajid Javid will be making a statement to the commons after many minister have called for the isolation period to be scrapped.

It comes as Government research suggests the rule change would only result in an extra two in 100 people ending quarantine while still infectious.

UK Health Security Agency modelling looked at the risk of a positive case spreading the virus after two negative lateral flow tests.

It found eight per cent would still be infectious on day five, compared to 6.2 per cent on day seven.

Ministers are today meeting with experts to discuss the changes, with a decision expected soon after.

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