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Dec. 4, 2022

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COVID-19 symptoms have changed

Study lists top 5 signs for different groups

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The most commonly reported COVID-19 symptoms in recent weeks have changed since the coronavirus started to spread across the globe, a study has found.

The top symptoms were mostly similar regardless of vaccination status, according to the Zoe Health Study, a long-running research project based in the U.K. that tracks the virus through its COVID Symptoms Tracker app. Through the app, participants self report their COVID-19 experience.

The study’s latest list published Oct. 20 highlights how “symptoms as recorded previously are changing with the evolving variants of the virus,” according to the report.

Four out of five top COVID-19 symptoms were the same for participants who received two vaccine doses, one vaccine dose and those unvaccinated, according to the research. These symptoms were headache, persistent cough, sore throat, and a runny nose.

However, the top symptoms differed in how they ranked for each vaccination status group, the study found. Additionally, each group reported one different COVID-19 symptom that made the top five.

For those who received two COVID-19 shots, a stuffy nose was included in this group’s five most-common symptoms while it was absent from the other groups’ top five.

Here is how the top five symptoms ranked for the group, according to the study:

  • 1. Sore throat
  • 2. Runny nose
  • 3. Stuffy nose
  • 4. Persistent cough
  • 5. Headache

Previously, loss of smell, shortness of breath and a fever were considered more common COVID-19 symptoms for those vaccinated with two doses, according to the research.

Meanwhile, for participants who got one vaccine dose, sneezing was included in the group’s top five symptoms but not in the other two groups.

Here is how the study found this group’s top five ranked:

  • 1. Headache
  • 2. Runny nose
  • 3. Sore throat
  • 4. Sneezing
  • 5. Persistent cough

For those unvaccinated, participants reported having a fever more often than the other groups, according to the research. As a result, fever made the top five most-common symptoms for people who haven’t gotten a COVID-19 shot.

Here’s the top five most-common symptoms for those unvaccinated, according to the research:

  • 1. Headache
  • 2. Sore throat
  • 3. Runny nose
  • 4. Fever
  • 5. Persistent cough

The study was based on daily self-reports and did not factor in COVID-19 variants or participants’ demographics, according to Zoe Health.

Ultimately, there are many COVID-19 symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Others include fatigue, nausea, body aches and more.

Several people who were infected with COVID-19 may be dealing with long COVID, when virus symptoms last longer than the initial infection, McClatchy News reported. CDC research published in May found that about 1 in 5 adults may develop at least one long COVID symptom following an infection.

The Zoe Health Study’s latest top symptoms list comes as the omicron variant — and several of its subvariants — dominated virus cases for the week ending Oct. 22, according to CDC data estimates.

The subvariants could cause a fall and winter surge in COVID-19 cases, Justin Lessler, an infectious disease epidemiologist based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told Nature.

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