Is a runny nose a symptom of COVID-19?

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Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a virus that causes a person to develop COVID-19. Common symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever and a cough. Recent evidence suggests that a runny nose is a common symptom of COVID-19 that results from the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.

All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. 

According to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, also known as the B.1.617.2 lineage, originated in India in late 2020.

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Symptoms of any form of COVID-19 can include a runny nose. However, having a runny nose may be a main symptom of COVID-19 that results from the delta variant.

Read on to learn more about COVID-19 symptoms, some other causes of a runny nose, and how to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

Is a runny nose a symptom of COVID-19?
A person blowing their nose. 

A runny nose can be a symptom of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that a runny nose can be a symptom of COVID-19 in both children  and adults.

There are multiple variantsof SARS-CoV-2. According to the Washington State Department of Health, a runny nose is rarely a symptom of COVID-19 that is due to previous variants of the virus, but it can occur.

However, according to recent evidence, a runny nose may be a main symptom of COVID-19 that results from the recently discovered delta variant.

The delta variant accounted for 10% of COVID-19 cases in the United States as of June 14, 2021.

Should a person get a test if they have a runny nose?

Recent data from the United Kingdom Zoe COVID Symptom study suggest that delta variant infections manifest with a headache, followed by a sore throat, a runny nose, and a fever. For this reason, anyone with a runny nose should consider getting a COVID-19 test.

For people living in the U.K., tests are not yet available for those with just a runny nose. However, individuals can take a lateral flow test at home.

Additionally, if a person is concerned about or unsure of the cause of their runny nose, they could contact a doctor or book a COVID-19 test.

However, it is also important to remember that allergies such as hay fever are common during the summer months. If a person usually experiences hay fever, their runny nose may be due to that rather than COVID-19.

The CDC has an advice pageTrusted Source on how a person can get a COVID-19 test. It recommends that a person contacts a healthcare professional or visits their health department’s website to get information on local testing.

If a healthcare professional is unable to perform the test, a person may receive an at-home test kit.

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