What are Covid symptoms in 2023? What to know about new Eris variant and what to do if you catch it
Cases of Covid are on the rise across the UK, with new variants such as Eris spreading.
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The official list of Covid symptoms has grown since the virus first reared its head, with an additional nine signs of the illness having been added in 2022.
Experts such as Professor Christina Pagel, from the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College London, have said it is "reasonably certain" that UK has entered another Covid wave.
From symptoms to what to do if you have it, here is what you should know about Covid in 2023.
How long before Covid symptoms show?
Symptoms of Covid can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure. With earlier Covid variants symptoms would appear, on average, after four to six days.
What are current Covid symptoms?
- A high temperature or chills – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- Feeling tired or exhausted
- 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
- Feeling sick or being sick
Less common Covid symptoms include a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes, or red or irritated eyes.
More serious symptoms of Covid include chest pains, confusion, loss of speech or mobility and difficulty breathing.
Much like previous strains of Covid, Eris will cause symptoms in the upper respiratory tract. The new variant is a descendant of Omicron, and is known scientifically as EG.5.1.
It is thought to account for one in 10 Covid cases, making it the second most prevalent in the country. However, according to the UKHSA it is believed nearly half of all infection cases belong to the Arcturus variant.
The most common Eris Symptoms are: runny noses, headaches, fatigue (mild or severe), sneezing and a sore throat.
What to do if you have Covid symptoms
Guidance on NHS Inform currently states that most people experiencing symptoms of Covid no longer need to test, and should instead stay at home.
If you think you have Covid you should drink fluids and stay hydrated, rest well, wear comfortable clothing and take over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
You should contact your GP if you’re concerned about your symptoms or they worsen, if they become unmanageable at home or if you're worried about a child, especially if they're under 2 years old.
Where to buy Covid tests in Scotland
While most people in Scotland can no longer access free Covid tests, you still can if you are a patient-facing NHS worker or if you are eligible for new Covid treatments due to a health condition.
Most pharmacies carry lateral flow test kits, and they can also be found in some supermarkets. Boots currently offer 5 rapid Covid tests for around £9.
How long should you isolate with Covid?
If you have Covid, you should isolate from others for at least 5 days from the day your symptoms started.
How long do Covid symptoms last?
Regardless of strain, the length of time people have Covid remains similar.
Most people who have coronavirus symptoms should recover and feel better within a few weeks.
What are signs and symptoms of long Covid?
There are many different indicators you may be experiencing long Covid, which can range from digestive issues to neurological symptoms.
The most common symptoms include:
- Respiratory; breathlessness or coughs.
- Cardiovascular; chest tightness or pain, or heart palpitations.
- Neurological; brain fog, the loss of concentration or memory issues, headaches, broken sleep, pins and needles or numbness, dizziness, sudden confusion, mobility impairment, or difficulties with or changes to your sight.
- Gastrointestinal; abdominal pain, feeling sick, diarrhoea and weight loss and reduced appetite
- Joint and muscle pain
- Psychological; symptoms of depression such as low mood, poor sleep, lack of concentration and feeling helpless, symptoms of anxiety for example feeling on edge, excessive worry and difficulties sleeping, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, especially in people with more severe coronavirus symptoms that needed intensive care in hospital
- Ear, nose and throat symptoms; loss of taste and/or smell, tinnitus, earache, sore throat, dizziness
- Dermatological; skin rashes or hair loss
You should contact your GP if you experience any of the above symptoms four weeks or more after you believe you’ve had Covid.