Omicron: The Overlaps Between The New Variant And A Cold

by : Shola Lee on :
Omicron: The Overlaps Between The New Variant And A ColdAlamy

The new Covid variant Omicron produces a different set of symptoms to past variants and can often be confused with a cold. 

With the new symptoms of Omicron including a scratchy throat, dry cough and nasal congestion, it’s easy to see how it can be confused with a cold.

Testing for Omicron variant (Alamy)Alamy

Omicron symptoms include a scratchy throat, dry cough, extreme tiredness, mild muscle aches and night sweats.

The typical symptoms of Covid are also thought to still be present, with a high temperature, new continuous cough and loss/change to your sense of taste or smell among those to look out for.

When it comes to a common cold, symptoms include a blocked or runny nose, sore throat, headaches, muscle aches, coughs, raised temperature, pressure in your ears and face and loss of taste and smell.

coronavirus (Alamy)Alamy

There’s a lot of overlap. So, what should you do if you think you have Omicron?

Professor Tim Spector spoke about the cold-like symptoms of Omicron on Good Morning Britain.

He explained:


The predominant symptoms [of Omicron] are all cold like symptoms, over 50% of people never have classic symptoms. So they are getting headache, fatigue, sore throat, running nose.


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He went on to clarify that with the new variant, the classic symptoms may be less prevalent, explaining a high temperature, new continuous cough and loss/change to your sense of taste or smell may be present but are not in the ‘top five’ experienced by Omicron sufferers.

Spector added that the ‘the risk is about one in four, one in five, of a cold symptom being Covid’.

So, whether you think it’s a cold or Covid, it’s best to get a PCR test.


If you’ve been affected by coronavirus and want up to date advice, visit the Gov.uk help page here. If you need medical help call NHS 111 or visit online

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Shola Lee

Shola Lee began her journalism career while studying for her undergraduate degree at Queen Mary, University of London and Columbia University in New York. She has written for the Columbia Spectator, QM Global Bloggers, CUB Magazine, UniDays, and Warner Brothers' Wizarding World Digital. Recently, Shola took part in the 2021 BAFTA Crew and BBC New Creatives programme before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories, and features.

Topics: News, cold, COVID, Now, Omicron


The Mirror and 1 other
  1. The Mirror

    Omicron symptoms: How to tell the difference between a cold and new Covid variant

  2. Good Morning Britain/YouTube

    Professor & Doctor Discuss Omicron Variant & It's Effect On Christmas Plans This Year | GMB