Tea United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) updated its COVID-19 advice this week, adding nine new official symptoms of the virus, including sore throat, headache and fatigue.
The news comes as infection rates have been steadily rising in the United Kingdom (UK) and as the government winds down its free COVID-19 testing program. Only people deemed to be at serious risk of illness qualify for free tests starting this month.
In the US, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have already relied on the longer list of symptoms, but the UK body has listed just three symptoms for the past two years of the pandemic: high temperature, continuous cough, and loss of smell or taste.
The new full advisory from the NHS lists the following symptoms:
- A high temperature or shivering (chills) — a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).
- A new, continuous cough — this means coughing a lot for more than an hour or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
- Shortness of breath.
- Feeling tired or exhausted.
- An aching body.
- A headache.
- A sore throat.
- A blocked or runny nose.
- Loss of appetite.
- Feeling sick or being sick.
“The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu,” the new NSA advisory notes.
British health experts have praised the latest move to expand the symptoms list after criticizing the shorter list in the past.
“We’ve been sharing the wider symptoms of COVID for almost 2 years because we were following the science, provided by the amazing ZOE contributors!” Tim Spector, lead scientist of the independent ZOE project, said on Twitter.
“NHS finally recognizing that there are more -hopefully now people are aware it help bring down COVID numbers from record highs,” he added.
Spector is also a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London.
More than 166,000 people have reportedly died in the UK of COVID-19 during the ongoing pandemic.
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