Skip to content

Signs You May Have Delta, According to Patients

They’ve been there. You don’t have to be.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

There's an excellent chance you know someone who got coronavirus. And your chances of knowing someone who got the Delta variant are increasing. The variant is "more transmissible," says the head of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, and therefore "more dangerous." How can you tell if it's finally got you? Read on for the following stories from patients who got COVID. Although we cannot guarantee they had Delta specifically, they did catch COVID in the last few months, when the Delta variant has been predominant. (It now accounts for 99% of cases.) Read on for five signs you might have Delta, according to patients who had it—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


You Might Have a Headache and Cold-Like Symptoms

Woman blowing her nose into tissue

Delta has the same symptoms as the original strain but there may be some differences, says Inci Yildirim, MD, Ph.D., a Yale Medicine pediatric infectious diseases specialist and a vaccinologist. "It seems like cough and loss of smell are less common. And headache, sore throat, runny nose, and fever are present based on the most recent surveys in the U.K., where more than 90% of the cases are due to the Delta strain," she told Yale Medicine. Keep reading to hear what patients say.

RELATED: "Top Delta Symptoms" People Notice First


You Might Be Hospitalized Quicker

Doctor and infected patient in quarantine in hospital, coronavirus concept.

"In two different studies from Canada and Scotland, patients infected with the Delta variant were more likely to be hospitalized than patients infected with Alpha or the original virus that causes COVID-19," says the CDC. "Even so, the vast majority of hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 are in unvaccinated people." "You never know. You're gambling with 'Hey, hopefully I'll get the easy kind and I won't get too sick.' You're gambling with your life. I would definitely say everybody should get the vaccine," said Ohioan Bob Hughes, who fought for his life in the hospital after catching COVID as an unvaccinated man. 

RELATED: Surgeon General Just Issued This "Curveball" Warning


You Might Have Respiratory Issues

Asian woman having difficulty breathing in bedroom at night

COVID can disrupt all your systems, but it is a respiratory disease so shortness of breath is common. "I ended up having so much breathing difficulty that I went to the emergency room at Pali Momi," said Oahu resident John Lane, who was unvaccinated. He was in the ICU for weeks. "The scary part was as soon as I got to my room, they assigned an infectious disease specialist to me, a COVID specialist doctor, and he was monitoring my oxygen levels and my breathing, all my test results, they took blood and all these things; and right off the bat, [the doctor] just straight up, he's like, 'I might have got you too late, I don't know, if you're going to make it,' he's like, 'you have a fight, it's kind of on you.'" He says he will get vaccinated as soon as he can.

RELATED:  These People Are 11 Times More Likely to Die From COVID


You Might Feel Exhausted—Even With a Breakthrough Case

Young woman falling asleep in bed with drink in hand

Writer Will Stone was vaccinated but got a breakthrough case. "It was a miserable five days," he wrote on NPR. "My legs and arms ached, my fever crept up to 103 and every few hours of sleep would leave my sheets drenched in sweat. I'd drop into bed exhausted after a quick trip down to the kitchen. To sum it up, I'd put my breakthrough case of COVID-19 right up there with my worst bouts of flu. Even after my fever cleared up, I spent the next few weeks feeling low." An infectious disease specialist told him: "You probably would have gotten much sicker if you had not been vaccinated."

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Issued Another Dire Warning


What to Do if You Think You Have Delta, and How to Avoid It


If you experience any of these symptoms, contact a medical professional immediately and get tested—a PCR test is the most reliable. Follow Fauci's 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