April 5, 2022
The U.K. Health Security Agency added nine symptoms to its official list of signs that could indicate a COVID-19 infection, according to BBC.
The new symptoms include shortness of breath, unexplained tiredness or lack of energy, muscle aches, long-lasting headaches, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, loss of appetite, diarrhea and feeling sick.
Previously, the agency’s list included three symptoms: continuous cough, fever, and loss of sense of smell or taste. The WHO and certain countries, such as the U.S., have used a longer list of symptoms for some time, the BBC reported.
However, U.K. health officials have debated which symptoms to recognize for someone to qualify for a COVID-19 test. Previously, people only qualified for a laboratory-based test if they had one of the three symptoms or if invited to take a test, according to The Guardian. Free testing for most people in England ended last week.
The updated guidance notes that the symptoms of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections such as the cold and flu are “very similar.”
“It is not possible to tell if you have COVID-19, flu or another respiratory infection based on symptoms alone,” the guidance says. “Most people with COVID-19 and other respiratory infections will have a relatively mild illness, especially if they have been vaccinated.”
The U.K. guidance adds that people who have symptoms of a respiratory infection and a high fever should stay home and avoid other people, especially if they don’t “feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities.”
People can return to their normal activities when they feel better or don’t have a high temperature anymore, according to updated NHS guidance, which also includes the nine additional symptoms. The guidance is slated to be reviewed again on April 15.