How long does it take for Omicron symptoms to appear after exposure to COVID?

As cases of COVID-19 increase with the new Omicron variant continuing to spread, your chances of being exposed to someone infected with the virus have likely increased.

But when can symptoms first appear after potential exposure?

In the video above, WHO says Omicron appears to be causing milder symptoms

Some experts claim that the Omicron variant has “sped up” the timing of COVID-19, including the incubation period, or the time between exposure and the onset of symptoms.

But while it takes less time to develop symptoms, for many people it also takes less time to recover.

Here’s what we know so far.

How long is the incubation period for Omicron?

According to early data, the time it takes for an infected person to develop symptoms after exposure may be shorter for Omicron than for previous variants – from a full week to three days or less.

While much more research is needed, it makes scientific sense that a highly contagious virus like the Omicron variant has a shorter incubation period.

Its goal, after all, is to infect as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

“This is why the spread is happening at a much faster rate,” said Dr. Anita Gupta, anesthesiologist and intensive care physician at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the United States.

She added that the incubation period may be shorter or longer depending on a number of variables, including age, underlying health issues and vaccination status.

“There is no hard and fast rule here,” she said.

How quickly can COVID symptoms appear?

Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear between one and 14 days after a person’s exposure to the virus.

Before Omicron, most people started showing symptoms five to six days after coming into contact with someone with COVID-19.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Fever and flu-like symptoms
  • To cough
  • Sore throat
  • Tired
  • shortness of breath sore throat

Other symptoms include:

  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Temporary loss of smell or altered taste.

Anyone with symptoms should be tested for COVID-19.

Some people may never experience symptoms, although they can still spread the virus.

A person is also considered contagious before symptoms appear.

When to call a doctor

Those who have or may have COVID-19 should watch for emergency warning signs and seek immediate medical attention if they experience these symptoms.

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake
  • Pale, gray or blue skin, lips or nail beds

When are people with COVID most contagious?

Growing evidence suggests that transmission of COVID-19 often occurs one to two days before symptoms appear and for two to three days afterward.

People without symptoms are considered contagious at least two days before they test positive.

When is the best time to get tested after exposure?

You should get tested as soon as possible, even if you have the mildest cold or flu symptoms.

Early diagnosis means you can avoid passing the virus on to someone else.


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