Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic the virus has continued to evolve.
Various mutations of the disease, as well as the introduction of vaccines, has meant the way our bodies respond to infection has changed over the last three years.
With the spread of the new Eris strain of Covid, which is a descendant of Omicron, experts have pinpointed slight changes in the most common symptoms yet again.
One expert spoke with Express.co.uk to explain more.
According to Abbas Kanani, pharmacist at Chemist Click, the main symptoms of Eris to look for include:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Blocked nose
- Dry cough
- Wet cough
- Hoarse voice
- Muscle aches
- Altered smell.
“Traditional symptoms such as shortness of breath, loss of smell and a fever are now far less common,” he said.
This is backed by findings from the Zoe Health Study, which reported how fever was far less common among people with the Omicron strain.
How does Eris compare to the flu?
Abbas explained: “Influenza virus can circulate throughout the year; however, it is most common during the winter months.”
He listed the main symptoms of flu as:
- A high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- Tiredness and weakness
- A headache
- General aches and pains
- A dry, chesty cough.
“Cold-like symptoms, such as a blocked or runny nose, sneezing, and a sore throat, can also be caused by flu, but they tend to be less severe than the other symptoms you have,” he said.
“The main difference between the Eris variant and flu is a change in temperature, but symptoms are very similar.”
For this reason he recommended the “simple” test of checking your temperature using a thermometer, with a high temperature more likely to indicate flu rather than Covid.
He said: “Check whether your temperature is high, 38C (100.4F) or above which may indicate flu and not Eris, however the only way to be certain is to do a Covid test.”
Recovery for flu could be quicker than for Covid, he added.
“With flu you should begin to feel much better within a week or so, although you may feel tired for much longer,” Abbas said.
“Most people with COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and feel better within a few weeks.”
To aid your recovery he recommended: “Get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, water is best and drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear.
“You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable.”
The same advice is applicable if you have flu, he said.
If you experience symptoms of Covid the NHS recommends staying home and avoiding contact with other people if possible.
The health body advises calling 111 or getting an urgent GP appointment if:
- You’re worried about your or a child’s COVID-19 symptoms or are not sure what to do
- The symptoms are getting worse or are not getting better
- You or a child have other signs of illness, such as a rash, loss of appetite, or feeling weak
- You or a child have a high temperature that last five days or more or does not come down with paracetamol
- A child under three months old and has a temperature of 38C or higher, or you think they have a high temperature
- A child three to six months old and has a temperature of 39C or higher, or you think they have a high temperature.