Covid is on the rise once again, and the Health Secretary has even said a fourth jab is looking increasingly likely by the autumn.
This comes as restrictions ease across the country, and the new variant Deltacron continues to spread.
It is getting harder and harder to find someone who hasn’t had it, but you can catch it multiple times, so it is important to be aware of the signs.
Here’s everything you need to know about the symptoms of Covid.
Is a sore throat a symptom of Covid?
The NHS has highlighted the three main symptoms of Covid as:
- High temperatures: This means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).
- New, continuous cough: This is defined as coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
- Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste (anosmia): This means you have noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
The NHS does not list a sore throat as one of the Covid symptoms, however, some other health authorities do, such as the American Center for Disease Control.
According to Yella Hewings-Martin, PhD of the ZOE Covid Study which is tracking symptoms across the country, the most common symptoms that sufferers have been reporting lately have been a sore throat, headaches, runny noses, fatigue, and sneezing.
The Zoe Covid study wrote in a post last year: “Even though a sore throat is a less well-known symptom of Covid-19, it’s an early sign of the disease and reasonably common in children and adults up to the age of 65.
“People using the app have reported having a sore throat that feels similar to what you might experience during a cold or laryngitis.
“Covid-related sore throats tend to be relatively mild and last no more than five days. A very painful sore throat that lasts more than five days may be something else such as a bacterial infection, so don’t be afraid to contact your GP if the problem persists.
“It’s important to remember that sore throats are common and caused by lots of respiratory illnesses such as normal colds. So although many people with Covid-19 experience sore throats, most people with a sore throat will not have Covid-19. “
It added that the symptoms usually appears in the first week of illness and lasts two to three days, although sometimes it can be longer.
What should I do if I think I have Covid?
If you think you have it you no longer have to self-isolate.
However, the NHS says: “While you’re no longer required by law to self-isolate if you have Covid-19, you should still stay at home and avoid contact with other people. This helps reduce the chance of passing Covid-19 on to others. “
It adds that you should “stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you:
- have any of the main symptoms of Covid-19
- have tested positive for Covid-19 – this means you have the virus.
The Government says lateral flow tests are for people who do not have symptoms but want to check if they have Covid.
If you get a positive lateral flow test result, you do not usually need to get a follow-up PCR test
But if you have any of the main symptoms and have not taken a lateral flow you should take a PCR test. You can order one here.
Are lateral flow tests still free?
For now, but they won’t be for long. The Government will stop providing universally free Covid-19 tests will from 1 April.
Until that point, both lateral flows and PCRs (for those eligible to order them) will continue to be provided for free by the NHS.
Twice-weekly testing for staff and students in education and childcare has already ended.
Businesses will be liable to pay for their testing regime if they want to continue checking whether their employees have coronavirus.
You can still order lateral flow tests for free from the Government website here, or by calling 119 if you can’t use that service. Lines are open every day from 7am to 11pm and are free of charge.
How many Covid cases are there in the UK?
Covid is on the rise once again, and in the last seven days 516,289 have tested positive for Covid.
This is an increase of 49.2 per cent.
The number of people being admitted to hospital has also risen by 20.9 percent to 11,047 in the past seven days.
However, the number of deaths is still relatively low in the past week, and 744 below have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test, a decrease of 4.4. per cent.
In terms of vaccinations, 91.7 per cent of the population aged over 12 have had their first dose but only 67 per cent have had the full course of three doses.