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Sure Ways to Spot a Delta Infection, Say Experts

Pay attention to how this variant shows itself.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is much more transmissible than previous iterations of the coronavirus, but that's not the only way it's different. Research suggests that Delta may cause distinctive symptoms in a certain group of people. Here's how you can spot a Delta infection, according to the experts. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.


You May Have These Lesser-Known Symptoms

Woman being sick having flu sitting on bed alone at home, having high fever or temperature, touching forehead

Researchers at the COVID Symptom Study are tracking the initial signs of new COVID cases via an app. They say that these are now the most commonly reported early symptoms of COVID, if you've been vaccinated: 

  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Persistent cough

If you've not been vaccinated, symptoms are similar to the more well-known ones associated with earlier strains of COVID-19, the scientists say.


"Common Cold" Symptoms Have Been Seen With Delta

RELATED: Delta Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order

Research suggests that COVID symptoms may have diversified a bit since the beginning of the pandemic, when the telltale signs were fever, cough, shortness of breath and loss of taste or smell. 

"The symptoms we are seeing now are much more commonly identified with the common cold," Dr. Andrew T. Chan, an epidemiologist and one of the COVID Symptom Study's lead investigators, told The New York Times. "We are still seeing people presenting with a cough, but we are also seeing a higher prevalence of things like runny nose and sneezing." 


But Well-Known COVID Symptoms Are Also Common

Young woman coughing while lying on bed with a cup of tea

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According to the CDC, the common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

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

What to Do If You're Feeling Ill

doctor or healthcare worker in protective wear, medical mask and face shield making coronavirus test and taking sample from patient

That's a long list of symptoms, and if you have, say, a headache or feel nauseated, it doesn't necessarily mean you have COVID-19.

But it's better to be safe than sorry. If you're experiencing any symptoms out of the ordinary that might indicate COVID-19, it's a good idea to get tested—even if you've been fully vaccinated.

RELATED: The One Sure Sign You Already Had Delta


How to Stay Safe Out There

woman wearing protective mask

Follow the 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.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael