Omicron, Cold or Flu, Here’s How You Can Tell The Difference

Omicron’s symptoms are similar to cold and influenza. The symptom includes a sore throat, runny nose, body ache, and fever.

Published: January 7, 2022 7:04 PM IST

By Lifestyle Staff | Edited by Anjali Thakur

The development comes as the Haryana State Disaster Management Authority (HSDMA) revised its COVID guidelines and ordered to remove all the restrictions.

The whole world is reeling from the major upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the new variant, Omicron, and the spike in daily covid-19 cases, the situation only seems to get worse. Although, health experts initially said that the new variant is not as severe as Delta but on January 6, WHO in a statement said that while Omicron does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorised as mild.

Also Read:

Omicron is a heavily mutated variant with unusual constellation of mutations and is very different to other variants that have circulated in the past two years. As per the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation in South Africa, Omicron was found to have 50 mutations overall and more than 30 on the spike protein.

Omicron’s symptoms are similar to cold and influenza. The symptom includes a sore throat, runny nose, body ache, and fever. Influenza has the same symptoms which usually peaks in the middle of winter from early October to mid-February. Because of mild symptoms, it is difficult to distinguish between the various respiratory infections.

Experts says that there is no sure-fire way to distinguish or tell if you have omicron. Professor Eskild Petersen, of the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, was quoted as saying by a media publication, “A common cold and Omicron is, in my view, impossible to distinguish.” The point was also echoed by Dr Andrew Freedman, an infectious diseases specialist at Cardiff University in the UK. “A lot of people, particularly vaccinated people, are getting what would otherwise be thought of as the common cold.”

Here are few symptoms of Covid-19, influenza and the common cold.

  • Dry cough: Covid-19 (frequent), flu (frequent), cold (occasionally)
  • Fever: Covid-19 (frequent), flu (frequent), cold (rare)
  • Stuffy nose: Covid-19 (rare), flu (sometimes), cold (frequent)
  • Sore throat: Covid-19 (sometimes), flu (sometimes), cold (frequent)
  • Shortness of breath: Covid-19 (sometimes), flu (not observed), cold (not observed)
  • Headache: Covid-19 (sometimes), flu (frequent), cold (not observed)
  • Body aches: Covid-19 (sometimes), flu (frequent), cold (frequent)
  • Sneezing: Covid-19 (not observed), flu (not observed), cold (frequent)
  • Exhaustion: Covid-19 (sometimes), flu (frequent), cold (sometimes)
  • Diarrhoea: Covid-19 (rare), flu (sometimes), cold (not observed)

In the past few day, a covid-19 fitness tracking app in the United Kingdom, called Zoe Covid study reported two new symptoms- nausea and loss of appetite. But these are common for those are doubly vaccinated or boosted.

For breaking news and live news updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Read more on Latest Health News on

Published Date: January 7, 2022 7:04 PM IST