The ‘new’ symptoms of COVID-19

Friday 13 August 2021

The Delta variant of COVID-19 has been a game-changer in Australia – far more infectious and as we are discovering, it also has different symptoms.

So, what are the ‘new’ Delta COVID-19 symptoms to watch out for?

The current Australian Government Department of Health CDNA guidelines state that:

“COVID-19 presents as a mild illness in approximately 80% of cases. Evidence suggests the most common symptoms are fever, cough, dyspnoea, malaise, fatigue, loss of taste and/or smell, and sputum/respiratory secretions. Other symptoms include headache, sore throat, fatigue, shortness of breath, myalgia, rhinorrhoea, chills, and vomiting.

Atypical symptoms may include chest pain, diarrhoea, and conjunctivitis. Loss of smell and/or taste are more common presenting symptoms than initially thought, seen in approximately 50% and 40% of cases, respectively.”

However, early data from the UK indicates that headache, sore throat and runny nose are the most common symptoms in people with infections caused by Delta strain, making mild illness difficult to distinguish from colds and flu-like illnesses. Clinicians are asked to be cognisant of this when assessing patients, regardless of the prevalence of Delta in your area.

If your main concern is minimising risk to others, you shouldn’t worry whether you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms vs cold or flu symptoms. You should always be doing your best to social distance, avoid unnecessary outings and gatherings, wear a good mask, and wash your hands frequently.

It’s important that you take these precautions even if you feel totally fine. If you aren’t well though, the bottom line is, please get tested.