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How long do Omicron symptoms take to show?

Worried you might’ve come into contact with Omicron? Here’s when symptoms would show (Picture: Getty)

The Omicron variant of Covid is now the dominant strain in the UK, having caused surging case numbers over the Christmas and New Year periods.

And while infection rates might be dropping – leading to the relaxation of restrictions such as mandatory face coverings in certain places, and people encouraged to work from home – the highly-transmissible variant is still circulating widely.

Although we don’t know everything about the strain – which emerged in the UK at the end of November – we do know that it appears to cause milder illness, and that it spreads much faster than previous variants.

This could, in turn, have an effect on incubation periods and transmissibility of the virus.

So, how long does it take for us to catch it before we start to feel sick? Plus what symptoms will we feel? And how long until can we have Omicron before passing it on?

Here’s what we know, based on current evidence.

How long do Omicron symptoms take to show up?

How long will it take for you to show symptoms with Omicron? (Picture: Getty)

Current evidence shows that it can take as little as three days from exposure for Omicron symptoms to show up.

This is known as the ‘incubation period’: when you have the virus, and it’s working its way through your body.

However, it could take longer for symptoms to show, as many as 14 days, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Generally, it seems Omicron’s incubation period is a bit faster than other or past variants of Covid.

Back in May 2021, the WHO advised: ‘The time from exposure to Covid-19 to the moment when symptoms begin is, on average, five to six days and can range from one to 14 days.

Find out if you have Covid if you’re showing symptoms, or have been in contact with someone who has it (Picture: Getty)

‘This is why people who have been exposed to the virus are advised to remain at home and stay away from others, for 14 days, in order to prevent the spread of the virus.’

Keep in mind that it’s possible for you to be positive for any variant of Covid and remain completely symptomless.

Regardless of whether you’re symptomatic or not, if you have the virus you can pass it on to other people, jabbed or un-jabbed – as early as two days into the incubation period.

That’s why getting the booster jab, wearing face coverings when required, and other preventative measures are so important.

Even more importantly, if you present any of the below symptoms, you must self-isolate and get tested.

What symptoms should you look out for?

By now, many of us will know the general coronavirus symptoms (listed by the NHS) to be on guard for.

They include:

  • A loss of smell or taste
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A temperature or fever.

However, people with the Omicron variant have been reported to experience other symptoms, including:

  • A dry cough
  • Night sweats
  • Scratchy throat
  • Mild muscle aches
  • Fatigue.

These five telltale signs were first flagged by Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association.

Can you smell? Got a sore throat? These could be Covid symptoms (Picture: Getty)

If you have these symptoms, you need to self-isolate and avoid contact with other people.

The official advice remains to take a PCR test, then quarantine until you know you’re negative.

Gov.uk clearly states: ‘If you have Covid-19 symptoms you should stay at home and self-isolate immediately.

‘You should arrange to have a PCR test as soon as possible. If this PCR test result is positive, you must continue to self-isolate.’

MORE : Are loss of taste and smell symptoms of Omicron?

MORE : Scientists investigate new sub-variant of Omicron found in UK

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