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Signs You Have a Delta Infection, Says Expert

Dr. Robert Murphy explains why Delta is so dangerous.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

COVID-19 cases "are increasing significantly," Dr. Robert Murphy, a professor of infectious disease at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and the executive director for The Institute for Global Health, said to WGN. Fueled by the "more transmissible" Delta variant, it's infecting more than 150,000 Americans a day, especially those in areas with low vaccination. How can you tell if you have Delta? Read on for 5 pieces of Dr. Murphy's essential advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


Virus Expert Said Here's When Your Delta Symptoms May Develop

Lady Holding Thermometer Having Fever Measuring Body Temperature Sitting On Sofa At Home

If you catch Delta, "the symptoms can start as early as two days—that's unusual—and as long as 14 days," If you catch Delta, "the symptoms can start as early as two days," says Murphy. "It's typically like three to five, six days you get symptoms. And typically you're infectious around three or four days after the exposure."

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Virus Expert Says These are the Symptoms of Delta

Sick man holding his chest in pain while coughing in the living room.

Does the Delta variant have different symptoms than the COVID from before? No with one caveat. "It's the same old symptoms," says Murphy. "It just transmits easier, causes more lung disease, which we know already happens. So it's the same thing—just a little worse." Other experts have agreed that the symptoms are the same, however Delta symptoms may present as cold-like at first, particularly if you have a breakthrough infection. Read on to see what the most common symptoms are.

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Virus Experts Say These are the COVID Symptoms to Watch For

Woman Feeling Sick or Sad Wrapped in Cozy Blue Blanket

COVID can present itself differently. Podcaster Joe Rogan, for example, who just announced he has COVID, said he first felt weary and had a headache and that "throughout the night I got fevers and sweats and I knew what was going on." It's likely you'll have:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • New fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Congestion or runny nose

RELATED: 7 Mistakes You're Making During Delta Outbreak


Virus Expert Warned Long COVID May Resemble Alzheimer's

Senior woman feels pain in head

An estimated 10 to 30% of people who get COVID will have long-term symptoms. One is "very disturbing." There is "very disturbing information" about "Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Murphy. When looking at a brain scan—a PET scan—"in Alzheimer's it has a very particular pattern,  and they're seeing the same kind of pattern with the people with" brain fog after COVID, "with the memory problems and the cognitive thinking problems related to COVID. So that doesn't mean that you're going to get Alzheimer's, but it's certainly a disturbing finding and you know, more studies that are going to be done of course, with these people."

RELATED: 10 Warning Signs You Have Alzheimer's, Says CDC


What to Do If You Worry You Have a Delta Infection

Woman have her blood pressure checked by female doctor.

Get a COVID test. There is no "special Delta test" you need. "You need to know if you have COVID or not, you don't need to know if you have Delta," says Dr. Murphy, "because all the treatments for COVID work the same for Delta. So it's not going to change your treatment plan." So get tested if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, and follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek