Omicron warning: The surprising symptoms you need to watch out for

OMICRON is rampaging through the country after reaching Britain's shores three weeks ago.

Thousands more Brits are coming down with the variant each day, but many might not know some of the more surprising symptoms being reported.

The ZOE Covid Symptoms Study App has been tracking cases and symptoms in the UK since the early days of the pandemic.

The experts there have become pretty good at noting changes in signs of new variants.

Their latest analysis showed only half of the people currently suffering with Covid are experiencing the classic three symptoms listed on the NHS.

These are fever, a cough or loss of smell or taste.

Within the list of new non-classic symptoms to look out for is a loss of appetite, scratchy throat (billed as the first warning sign from South African doctors) and sneezing.

A booster shot is the best protection against Omicron, with early data suggesting it pushes efficacy back up to 75 per cent.

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Dr Jenny Harries, UKHSA Chief Executive said: “Once again, we urge everyone who is able to get a booster jab to come forward and do so. It is the best defence we have against this highly transmissible new variant."

The Sun is also urging readers to sign up to the Jabs Army campaign to make the rollout as smooth and fast as possible.

The last troublesome variant before Omicron was Delta, with many cases still popping up in the UK.

It was reported by experts that symptoms had become more cold-like with Delta, especially in the vaccinated, with this seeming to continue with Omicron.

Although it appears to also have some extra unusual symptoms, and might wipe people out more due to low immunity.

The experts said: "This may come as a surprise to some, as the UK government never updated guidance on COVID symptoms beyond the classic three symptoms.

"Many months ago, the ZOE Covid Study helped to identify over 20, mostly mild, cold-like symptoms."

At the minute, the top five symptoms on the app are a runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, sore throats.

Brain fog also popped up as a common symptom on the app from infected Brits.


It was doctors in South Africa that first said a scratchy throat, congestion, a dry cough and lower back pain were being picked up among Omicron patients.

Ryan Noach – chief executive of Discovery Health, the country’s largest private health insurer – made the comments after analysing some 78,000 Omicron cases.

Unben Pillay, a family doctor practising on the outskirts of Johannesburg, said that while it was still early days, “we are seeing patients present with dry cough, fever, night sweats and a lot of body pain”.

Dr Amir Khan, a British GP, described “drenching night sweats”, the kind “where you might have to get up and change your clothes”.

The UK's Omicron death toll has now risen to 12, with 104 patients in hospital with the variant.

It comes as the PM is facing a battle between ministers and experts over bringing in stricter restrictions surrounding Christmas.

The country has now got 45,145 Omicron infections, with a rise of 8,044 today.

Recently daily deaths have been around 100 on average, and as of December 13, 900 patients a day were admitted to hospital with the virus.

If you feel unwell at all, it's best to take a lateral flow to be safe. Experts have advised taking one within a few hours of heading out.


The virus can affect people in a dozen ways, the pandemic has shown.

Diarrhoea, confusion, loss of appetite, muscle and joint aches, a rash and irritated eyes are just some of the other reported symptoms from studies and the World Health Organization.

Some experts say if you feel unwell, regardless of the symptoms, it is worth getting tested.

If you have a cough, fever or loss of smell and/or taste, you should immediately get a test, the NHS says.

If you have a positive lateral flow test, the NHS says “get a PCR test to confirm your result as soon as possible”.

These tests can be delivered to your home for free or picked up in pharmacies, some schools and workplaces. 

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