As we head into the winter months respiratory illnesses are becoming more prevalent, many of which have similar symptoms to Covid. 

The common cold, although not normally dangerous, can leave you feeling very unwell. 

Indeed, as restrictions have eased, there has been much discussion of the "worst cold ever", with people becoming ill after a year of wearing face masks and limited socialising. 

The vaccination has also meant many people are still catching Covid but in a much milder form, meaning symptoms can be more similar to that of the common cold. 

So, can we tell the difference between the common cold and Covid? 

What are the most common Covid symptoms?

Research by the Zoe Covid study shows that loss of smell and taste are still the most common indicators of Covid across populations from the UK, US and Israel.

According to the study, someone who has lost their sense of taste and smell is 17 times more likely to test positive for Covid than someone without these symptoms. 

The analysis also showed that a high fever and shortness of breath were strongly linked to positive Covid tests. 

Is loss of taste and smell a symptom of the common cold?

According to the NHS website, loss of taste and smell are also symptoms of the common cold.

Unfortunately there is a lot of crossover between the symptoms for both the common cold and Covid. 

If you have any symptoms related to Covid you should isolate and book a test.

What are the other symptoms of a common cold?

The NHS lists the following symptoms for the common cold: 

  • a blocked or runny nose
  • a sore throat
  • headaches
  • muscle aches
  • coughs
  • sneezing
  • a raised temperature
  • pressure in your ears and face
  • loss of taste and smell

What are the most common Covid symptoms in double vaccinated people?

The Zoe research suggests that the most common Covid symptoms in people who have had both doses of the vaccine are: 

  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of smell

What are the 21 Covid symptoms?

The Zoe research highlights 21 symptoms of Covid to look out for:

  • high temperature
  • chills and shivers
  • persistent cough
  • loss or change in smell
  • loss or change to taste
  • headache
  • unusual tiredness
  • sore throat
  • sudden confusion
  • skin rash
  • changes to the mouth or tongue
  • red and sore fingers or toes
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pains
  • muscle pains
  • hoarse voice
  • diarrhoea
  • skipping meals
  • abdominal pain
  • runny nose
  • sneezing

Evidently Covid shares a lot of symptoms with the common cold. 

The most important thing to do if you have any Covid symptoms is to isolate and take a test. 

You should isolate until you receive the results of your test, only leaving isolation if it comes back negative.