There’s been a lot of talk about how the omicron variant of the coronavirus resembles the common cold, raising questions about how to tell the difference between them. But it appears three omicron symptoms often don’t show up with the common cold.

Dr. Hai Shao, the infectious disease physician with Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center in San Diego, recently told CBS 8 that the omicron variant often has symptoms similar to other COVID-19 strains.

  • “They include fever, chills, headache, sore throat, and as it progresses, people will start having cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing,” Shao said.
Why omicron variant symptoms are so similar to common cold symptoms
The omicron variant symptoms you could face based on your COVID vaccine status
New CDC data on omicron variant symptoms: What happens after reinfection, vaccination

But Shao said there are three COVID-19 symptoms you’ll see with the omicron variant that you won’t see with the common cold.

  • “A unique feature of COVID-19 is loss of sense of smell and taste, which you will not find in common cold viruses,” Shao told CBS 8.
  • “The other thing is that a common cold tends not to give high fever and sometimes severe headaches, which omicron is reporting these symptoms as predominant,” Shao said. 
  • “If you do have those symptoms, it’s much more concerning that you may have gotten COVID than the common cold virus.”

This comes as researchers have found the common cold and the omicron variant have similar symptoms overall. Per Reuters, the omicron variant most likely acquired a specific mutation from a snippet of genetic material found in the common cold, which means the omicron variant may, in part, be like the common cold.