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Study shows this is the first symptom you’ll experience if you catch COVID-19

Understanding the progression of an illness can help doctors identify it quickly

SHARE Study shows this is the first symptom you’ll experience if you catch COVID-19

An illustration of COVID-19.

Alex Cochran, Deseret News

Researchers found the most common first symptom of COVID-19 cases. Conducted by the University of Southern California, the study determined the order in which the most common symptoms show up.

“The order of the symptoms matter. Knowing that each illness progresses differently means that doctors can identify sooner whether someone likely has COVID-19, or another illness, which can help them make better treatment decisions,” said study lead Joseph Larsen, a doctoral candidate.

The researchers surveyed 55,000 people in China who were infected in February this year. According to Fox affiliate WGHP, the World Health Organization collected this data.

The study also included datasets of over 1,000 cases collected by the China Medical Treatment Expert Group during the omicron wave between December and January.

The study found that fever was the most common first symptom of COVID-19. It was usually followed by a cough and muscle pain.

Other viruses like monkeypox and the flu also cause a fever first, so testing is still the best way to conclude if you have an infection or not.

What are the top omicron symptoms?

As I previously reported, omicron subvariants have a shorter incubation period, which is why the symptoms may appear earlier.

The most common omicron-related symptoms are:

  • Cough.
  • Fatigue.
  • Congestion.
  • Runny nose.