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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Eki Wari on June 2, 2022

Learn How To Spot Early COVID Symptoms

The sooner you detect your early COVID symptoms, the sooner you can start to recover and isolate from others. Learn how to spot the sometimes hard-to-detect early symptoms of COVID here.

Early covid symptoms min scaled

Detecting early COVID symptoms is not always easy. Your symptoms may be similar to other health conditions. However, knowing how to spot the symptoms of early COVID is important.

The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you will recover. Early detection can also help stop the spread and keep your loved ones protected.

Read on to learn how to spot early COVID symptoms, including ones that you might not think are related to COVID. Continue reading for tips on how to alleviate them.

What Are Early COVID Symptoms?

A sore throat and fever are two early indications of COVID. Other symptoms include fatigue, headache, and loss of smell or taste.

Some of the early symptoms observed in people with COVID often include fatigue, headache, sore throat, and fever. A majority of people also reported a loss of taste and smell.

These symptoms range from mild to intense and can progress rapidly into a worsening cough or difficulty in breathing. In severe cases, patients may develop pneumonia.

COVID symptoms can appear as early as two days after exposure to the virus. Many patients also experience symptoms for up to 14 days. Some infected people do not have any symptoms at all. However, even if they are asymptomatic, they can still spread the virus.

With the rise of the Omicron variant, there are also some new first symptoms. Specifically, in mild breakthrough infections, a sore throat is one of the main indicators of the disease.

Data in a 2021 COVID Symptoms Study showed that the top five symptoms reported for Omicron infection were runny nose, headache, fatigue (either mild or severe), sneezing, and sore throat. 

Early COVID Symptoms, Based On Vaccination Status

Your vaccination status can also determine your symptoms of early COVID. Keep in mind that being vaccinated may help protect you against serious health complications, but you may still experience symptoms.

Here are the top five early COVID symptoms, based on your vaccination status:

Two doses of vaccine:One dose of vaccine:Unvaccinated:
Runny noseHeadacheFever
HeadacheRunny noseHeadache
SneezingSore throatSore throat
Sore throatSneezingRunny nose
Persistent coughPersistent coughPersistent cough
Early COVID symptoms may vary, depending on your vaccination status. Use this chart to help determine your potential symptoms.

Interestingly, one study observed that one of the top COVID symptoms experienced by vaccinated people is sneezing. So, if you are sneezing a lot without any good explanation or experiencing any of the symptoms highlighted above, isolate yourself and get tested immediately. 

When To Seek Immediate Medical Care

Take note that even if symptoms are initially mild, they may develop into something more severe. If you experience any of these warning signs, seek medical attention at once:  

  • Trouble breathing 
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest 
  • Confusion 
  • Inability to wake or stay awake 
  • Pale, grey, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on your skin tone

How To Best Prevent Early COVID Symptoms

To date, there is no cure for COVID. To protect ourselves and others, the best approach is to take preventative measures. These include:  

  • Wearing face masks and gloves 
  • Maintaining physical distancing of six feet and above 
  • Avoiding mass gatherings 
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing 
  • Avoiding touching the eyes, mouth, or nose
  • Avoiding handshakes 
  • Staying home if immunocompromised or you have comorbidities 
  • Limiting traveling to COVID affected areas or countries 
  • Self-isolating at home and screening for COVID if you experience any symptoms

How To Use TCM To Stay Healthy

Ginseng tea contains anti-viral properties that can help protect you against COVID symptoms.

Recent research shows that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is effective in preventing viral infection. Modern pharmacological studies report that TCM ingredients are effective in clearing away Heat and Detoxifying, as well as in relieving surface Dampness, thereby inhibiting the spread of the virus.

According to the research, certain TCM remedies may inhibit the multiplication of some viruses from forming, primarily by Heat-clearing and Detoxifying properties. The herbs Lonicera (Jin Yin Hua), Folium isatidis (Da Qing Ye), and Scutellaria (Huang Qin) are used for this purpose.

Second, TCM indirectly plays an antiviral role or inhibits the virus-mediated inflammatory response by regulating the body’s alignment. Astragalus (Huang Qi), Salvia (Dan Shen), Acanthopanax senticosus (Ci Wu Jia), and Gentiana (Qin Jiao) are used as antivirals to induce interferon and immunoglobulin. 

It is also essential to keep your body strong and healthy, boost your immune system, and take care of your mental health at this time. Besides a healthy diet, exercise, and good sleeping habits, TCM recommends nourishing your Qi (vital life energy) using herbs like American ginseng (Xi Yang Shen), Astragalus (Huang Qi), and Codonopsis (Dang Shen). You can also try propolis extract (Feng Jiao) which offers anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, to support your immune system.

Whether you are experiencing mild or severe COVID symptoms, it’s crucial to get tested and seek medical attention immediately. Practice good hygiene habits and take preventive steps to protect ourselves and stop the virus from spreading to others. Talk to your doctor or physicians to learn more about the early symptoms and how you can take care of yourself and your family. 

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