The Evolving Face of COVID-19: Understanding New Symptoms

COVID-19, the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has kept us on our toes since its emergence in late 2019. As the virus mutates, so do its symptoms. While fever, cough, and fatigue remain hallmarks, new variants like FLIRT (BA.4.6) have brought fresh concerns. Let’s delve into three newly recognized symptoms associated with COVID-19 and what they might mean for you.

Runny Nose and Congestion: Beyond the Common Cold

Many people associate a runny nose and congestion with the common cold. However, with the rise of new COVID-19 variants, these symptoms are increasingly reported alongside the more familiar ones. This shift can be confusing, making it difficult to differentiate between a cold and COVID-19.

Here’s the key distinction: unlike a typical cold, COVID-induced congestion and runny nose might be accompanied by other symptoms like fever, fatigue, sore throat, or headache. Additionally, loss of taste or smell, though less common than before, can still occur with COVID-19.

What to do: If you experience a runny nose or congestion along with other COVID-19 symptoms, getting tested is crucial. Early detection allows for isolation and prevents the spreading of the virus. While home remedies can help manage congestion, consulting a healthcare professional is recommended, especially if symptoms worsen.

Gastrointestinal Issues: More Than Just a Stomach Bug

Digestive woes like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea are not new to the COVID-19 symptom pool. However, with newer variants, these seem to be presenting themselves more frequently in some individuals. This can be particularly concerning for those who might not associate these symptoms with a respiratory illness.

The exact reason behind COVID-related gastrointestinal issues is still under investigation. One theory suggests that the virus can infect cells in the gut, leading to inflammation and digestive problems. Another possibility is that the body’s immune response to the virus disrupts the digestive system.

What to do: If you experience gastrointestinal issues alongside other COVID-19 symptoms, getting tested is advised. Staying hydrated is vital during this time. If symptoms persist or become severe, consult your doctor to rule out other causes and receive appropriate treatment.

Feeling Less Wakeful and Aware: Brain Fog and Cognitive Issues

Many COVID-19 survivors report experiencing “brain fog,” a condition characterized by difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, and mental fatigue. This can significantly impact daily activities and overall well-being.

The exact cause of brain fog in COVID-19 cases is not fully understood. It’s possible that the virus directly affects the nervous system, or the body’s inflammatory response triggered by the virus disrupts brain function.

What to do: If you experience brain fog along with other COVID-19 symptoms, getting tested is recommended. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for brain fog, but getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and engaging in cognitive stimulation exercises like puzzles or light reading might help. Consulting a doctor to rule out other causes and explore management strategies is advisable.

Important Considerations:

  • New variants, evolving symptoms: As the virus continues to mutate, the symptom profile of COVID-19 might evolve further. Staying informed about the latest updates from reliable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is crucial.
  • Not everyone experiences new symptoms: It’s important to remember that not everyone infected with COVID-19 will experience these new symptoms. Some individuals might still present with the classic fever, cough, and fatigue combination.
  • The importance of testing: Regardless of the symptoms you experience, getting tested, especially if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, is vital. Early detection helps prevent transmission and allows for timely medical intervention if needed.
  • Vaccination remains key: Vaccination significantly reduces the severity of COVID-19 illness and the risk of developing new or long-term complications. Staying up-to-date with recommended vaccinations and boosters is the best way to protect yourself and those around you.


Q. Are there truly new COVID-19 symptoms?

The virus itself isn’t necessarily creating entirely new symptoms, but rather some less common ones are becoming more frequent with certain variants. Additionally, our awareness and testing capabilities have improved, allowing us to identify a wider range of effects.

Q.  What are some of these emerging symptoms?

Runny nose and congestion: More common with recent variants, a runny nose, sore throat, and congestion can mimic a cold.

Digestive issues: Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea are being reported more frequently, sometimes even before respiratory symptoms appear.

Headache and body aches: These remain common, but some people describe a more intense or persistent achiness.

Q.  Should I be worried if I have these symptoms?

It’s always best to err on the side of caution. If you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, especially if they’re new or worsening, get tested. Early detection can help prevent spread and ensure you receive proper treatment if needed.

Q.  Where can I find the latest information on COVID-19 symptoms?

Here are some reputable sources for ongoing updates:

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

World Health Organization (WHO):

Mayo Clinic:

Q  What can I do to stay protected?

While the virus continues to evolve, some things remain constant:

Vaccination and boosters offer significant protection against severe illness.

Masking indoors, especially in crowded areas, can significantly reduce transmission risk.

Social distancing and frequent handwashing are additional layers of defence.

By staying informed and taking precautions, we can navigate this ever-changing situation effectively. Remember, if you have any concerns, consult a healthcare professional.


The ever-changing nature of COVID-19 makes it crucial to stay informed about the latest developments, including new symptoms. Recognizing these new signs and getting tested promptly can help manage the spread of the virus and ensure you receive proper treatment.

Remember, vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent severe illness and protect yourself from the evolving challenges of COVID-19.

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