Im a pharmacist – here are three unusual symptoms of the new Covid strains

Dr Nighat discusses symptoms of new Covid strain

Since the start of the pandemic, the COVID-19 virus has continued to evolve.

Over the last three years a number of different strains of Covid have appeared, with some responsible for fresh surges in case numbers.

Perhaps most noticeable was the Omicron variant – also known as B.1.1.529.

This strain of Covid was first detected in the UK in November 2021 and resulted in a massive increase in infections.

With each variant, the type of symptoms most commonly experienced can be slightly different.

READ MORE GP shares two red flag signs of Covid Pirola variant that appear on your face

This is no different for the two most recent strains that were found in the UK this year.

As previously reported, the new Eris and Pirola variants of Covid were detected in the region this summer, leading to another uptick in cases.

With this in mind an expert spoke with about some of the signs of these strains to look for.

George Sandhu, deputy superintendent pharmacist at Well Pharmacy, warned that the most common symptoms of the Eris – or EG.5 – variant to look for include:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Altered sense of smell.

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He shared that signs of Pirola – or BA.2.86 – can include:

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

Both variants are descendants of the highly contagious Omicron.

George revealed that they share three “unusual” symptoms that you might not expect.

These are a loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhoea.

What should to do if you experience symptoms

Testing for Covid and self-isolation is no longer mandatory if you experience symptoms.

However, the NHS still advises staying home and avoiding contact with others for five days if possible if you think you have Covid.

You should also avoid contact with vulnerable people for 10 days.

George recommended: “Where possible try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms and either have a high temperature, or do not feel well enough to go to work, school, childcare, or do your normal activities.

“You can continue your normal activities when you feel better to do so or do not have a high temperature.”

A high means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back.

The NHS lists potential symptoms of Covid as:

  • A high temperature or shivering (chills)
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • An aching body
  • A headache
  • A sore throat
  • A blocked or runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick or being sick.

If you want to test for Covid some people are able to get free lateral flow tests via the NHS.

Or they are still available to buy in certain pharmacies.

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