In the earlier stages of COVID-19, loss of smell or taste or both was a sure sign you didn't have the flu or common cold, but is that the case with the omicron variant?

It seems each variant of the coronavirus brings its own set of symptoms and loss of smell or taste only happens in a small number of cases who have the omicron variant.

This is making it harder to distinguish the omicron variant from a cold or the flu, especially if you only have light or no symptoms of the virus. Plus, omicron overall has been a much milder strain of COVID-19 compared to its counterpart the delta variant.

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WOOD reported that a study from the U.K. Health Security Agency said only about 13% of omicron cases lose their sense of smell or taste. The delta variant had 34% of its cases reporting the loss of smell or taste.

Several people, I have spoken to in the last few weeks who have caught the omicron variant say the symptoms were mild like a common cold but no loss of taste or smell.

Norway did a study of omicron near the end of 2021 and found a low number of cases where losing smell or taste was a factor. The study also showed that only 12% of omicron cases lost their smell while 23% of cases lost their taste.

The first cases of omicron in the United States found an even lower number of people who reported losing their smell or taste.

This is what is tricky about the omicron variant is that the symptoms are closer to the flu or a common cold, so many are not getting tested and with this variant being much more highly contagious, it's causing the virus to spread at a much faster rate.

Nearly 50% of people who contracted the original strain of COVID-19 lost their smell or taste. I lost both my sense of smell and taste for nearly 9 months from the original strain.

So it is much rarer to lose your sense of smell and taste with omicron. So if you are feeling like a cold is coming on, it is best to get tested immediately. Wear a mask until the results come in and if positive, keep the mask on and quarantine.

The omicron variant is showing one symptom that seems to be very common in 53% of cases, and that is a sore throat. Other signs are headache, runny nose, feeling tired, and sneezing which again sounds like a common cold.

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