‘Cold-like’ symptoms could indicate you have the XBB.1.5 Covid variant

This Morning: Dr Zoe talks about new Covid variant XBB1.5

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Many of us are aware of the initial symptoms people experienced when becoming infected with COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic. However, since then the side effects have continued to change, due to mutations as well as the introduction of vaccines. The XBB.1.5 variant is the latest iteration of the virus to arrive in the UK.

Experts have warned that XBB.1.15 – dubbed the Kraken variant – is potentially more infectious than other forms of the disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that XBB.1.5 has a “growth advantage” over other recorded variants.

And it currently makes up around 28 percent of all Covid cases in the US, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This is up from 0.1 percent of cases when it was first recorded in the US in September last year.

And in early January the CDC reported that around 40 percent of Covid cases were Kraken.

The sub-variant of Omicron has now been identified in 70 countries, including the UK.

But how do its symptoms compare to other variants of Covid?

Gavi, the vaccine alliance, reported that symptoms of XBB.1.15 are more “cold-like than flu-like”.

It says this is especially true among patients who have been vaccinated or have had COVID-19 before.

The BBC also reported that symptoms of XBB.1.5 are “thought to be similar to those of previous Omicron strains”.

In October last year the ZOE Health Study, which collates patient reports of symptoms, provided a list of the five most common Omicron symptoms.

These were:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (mild or severe)
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat.

Last week, co-founder of the ZOE Health Study, Professor Tim Spector, acknowledged the risk of the XBB.1.5 strain.

In a tweet, he said: “XBB could be the new variant to watch out for…in 2023.”

As of December 2022, the most common symptoms of Covid overall were:

  • A sore throat
  • A runny nose
  • A blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • A cough without phlegm
  • A headache
  • A cough with phlegm
  • A hoarse voice
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • An altered sense of smell.

Although there is no longer a legal requirement to isolate if you have Covid, it is still advised.

If you test positive for COVID-19 the NHS recommends staying at home and avoiding contact with other people for five days.

If you cannot avoid contact with others in your home it suggests keeping windows open, regularly washing your hands and wearing a mask.

The NHS also says you should avoid meeting vulnerable people for at least 10 days.

Other Covid symptoms to look for include:

  • A high temperature or shivering
  • A new, continuous cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick or being sick.

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