Man Coughing Image

COVID-19 Symptoms Changing Along with the Virus

When COVID-19 first struck, people were on alert for symptoms like fatigue, muscle and body aches, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, loss of smell, fever, and shortness of breath.

In the same way the virus that causes COVID-19 has developed variants, the symptoms that appear with the disease vary as well. They have also changed as more people have gotten vaccinated. The level of vaccination plays a hand in how the illness presents itself according to a recent research study.

Covid Symptoms Image

Common Symptoms

Participants in the research study seemed to share some symptoms regardless of their vaccination status. The severity, duration, and complications varied however depending on whether they were unimmunized, partially vaccinated, or fully vaccinated.

According to the study, the most common symptoms among all groups were a sore throat, runny nose, persistent cough, and headache. Fully vaccinated participants reported fewer symptoms lasting less time.

Fully Vaxed

The top five symptoms ranked from most to least reported among fully vaccinated participants were:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Runny nose
  3. Stuffy nose
  4. Persistent cough
  5. Headache

One Dose

The top five symptoms ranked from most to least reported among participants who received only one dose were:

  1. Headache
  2. Runny nose
  3. Sore throat
  4. Sneezing
  5. Persistent cough


The top five symptoms from most to least among the unvaccinated were:

  1. Headache
  2. Sore throat
  3. Runny nose
  4. Fever
  5. Persistent cough

“Traditional” symptoms like fatigue, aches, nausea, and vomiting and diarrhea were mentioned less frequently among the study subjects. Loss of smell dropped to sixth, fever ranked eighth, and shortness of breath fell to 29th.

As the main symptoms of COVID-19 continue to evolve, symptoms that mimic cold- and flu-like symptoms could be mistaken for other viruses as winter approaches. “We are raising concerns,” said Ilan Shapiro, AltaMed’s Chief Health Correspondent and Medical Affairs Officer. He emphasized the importance of testing and active preventive measures, like immunizations, because different viruses have different treatments.

Get Vaccinated and Tested

AltaMed is making COVID-19 vaccines available in your neighborhood. No appointment is necessary. Anyone 5 years or older, whether they are a patient or not, can get a vaccine, while supplies last. It is FREE regardless of immigration or health insurance status. All locations offer the Pfizer vaccine. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are encouraged. You may pre-register and book an appointment by calling (888) 499-9303 or visiting my and searching for an AltaMed vaccine event using the event address.


  • Bring a document that includes your first and last name.
  • Masks will be provided to anyone who doesn’t have one.
  • Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and testing here.

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Tree Holiday

Stop the Spread of COVID-19 During the Holidays

Despite our progress, COVID-19 variants, and other infectious diseases like influenza, continue to emerge. That’s why it’s important to stay cautious during the holidays to keep from spreading COVID-19 and the flu to vulnerable family and community members.

It should be safer to spend time with loved ones this holiday season, especially if everyone is fully up-to-date with their vaccines. This means completing a primary COVID-19 vaccine series, getting eligible boosters, and the flu shot this fall. If you are current with your vaccines, you can resume normal activities more safely.

Senior Woman Hugging Each Other at Christmas

Taking Precautions for Each Other

To provide additional protection against COVID-19, booster shots are now approved for fully-vaccinated individuals age five and older. It is still important to continue to follow the basic precautions of properly wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining physical distance. The best precaution for holiday gatherings is to limit them to only those who have been vaccinated.

This holiday season you can get everyone around the dinner table to celebrate a holiday meal more safely if they have been vaccinated. Eating outside and maintaining distance between guests is an added precaution to protect any guests who are not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and are not up-to-date on their boosters and flu shots. If you can’t gather outdoors, try to create space between people while they are eating.

Also, ask family members to get the flu vaccine. The flu can be dangerous and can weaken the immune system and make people more susceptible to COVID-19. Keep in mind that young children are more vulnerable to respiratory illnesses this year, so it’s really important for everyone to be vaccinated. Remind guests that it is okay to skip out on a holiday meal if they are not feeling well, and consider delivering their meal to them instead.

Festive Family Dinner

Easy Ways to Make Gathering Safer

No matter how big or small your celebration is, here are some tips for protecting everyone's well-being:

  • Try to limit attendance to those who have been vaccinated.
  • Gather outside to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Don’t spend too much time in a confined space.
  • Wear a mask when not eating or drinking.
  • Try to maintain some distance or stay masked if not fully vaccinated.
  • Avoid setting up a buffet unless you know everyone is up-to-date with their vaccines and boosters.
  • Ask guests to self-test for COVID-19 prior to gathering in large groups.
  • Place hand sanitizing stations across your home to encourage good hand hygiene.
  • Improve air flow inside your home if you can’t gather outside. Point fans toward intake vents and open screened windows or doors to improve air flow.
Woman Takes a Selfie With Doctor

If You’re Traveling

Get vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza, and carry face masks and hand sanitizer with you. If you travel by plane or bus, make sure to wear a well-fitting mask. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask when you are in crowded areas. If you book a hotel or Airbnb, make sure you trust the sanitizing procedures. Don’t feel awkward calling to ask about their cleaning policies or to find out the last time someone occupied the space you reserved and how that space was cleaned.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, and the flu shot are available at AltaMed. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to schedule an appointment. For more information, click here

Get Started with AltaMed

AltaMed can provide information to you about the best way to protect yourself and your family during the holidays from COVID-19. We have several resources that you can share with those you plan to gather with. Learn more by calling (888) 499-9303.


A Flu Shot Is Your Best Protection Against Seasonal Flu

Even as we remain in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, flu season is fast approaching. This period, which typically occurs between November and March, means a significantly increased risk of infection by the flu virus. Experts strongly recommend you get a flu shot in preparation, potentially saving yourself a lot of trouble down the road.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), September and October are good times to get vaccinated against the flu. But there are some considerations about who should get the vaccine and when:

  • Adults 65 and older should get vaccinated as early as possible. Check with your provider to see when the vaccine becomes available. AltaMed will begin distributing flu shots in late August. 
  • Children can get vaccinated as soon as it becomes available. Some children need two doses which is determined by your pediatrician or provider.
  • People in their third trimester of pregnancy should also get vaccinated early to protect their infants.
woman being injected

Why Get Vaccinated?

The flu can be serious, leading to hospitalization and even death. It affects millions of people every year, and the symptoms can range widely from a few days of feeling poorly and missing work to serious illness.

The flu can also lead to complications such as:

  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Ear infections
  • Sinus infections

It can also make chronic conditions like asthma, congestive heart failure, and diabetes, worse. Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way to prevent this.

family cooking

Not Just for You

You may not have any of these conditions. You may be the picture of health. The flu, however, is highly contagious.

Most experts believe flu viruses spread by tiny droplets that are created when people infected with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of nearby people. It’s less common for it to be transmitted from touching the surfaces where those droplets land.

So, should you get infected with the flu, you are taking it home to everyone who lives with you. That includes children, grandchildren, grandparents, siblings, etc. Some people, like the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, are more susceptible than others.

It is still possible to get sick from the flu despite getting your shot. However, the severity of the sickness can be lessened from being vaccinated.

Child With a Doctor

This Year’s Vaccine

This year’s shot is expected to offer protection against at least four of the influenza viruses that will be circulating this flu season. While it is possible to be infected by a different strain, it is still your best chance of avoiding serious complications from infection.

A flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months old or older. With COVID-19 still circulating, preventing the flu will help keep your immune system from being compromised which — in combination with the COVID vaccine — can keep you from contracting coronavirus as well.

Get Your Free Shots at AltaMed

Get vaccinated today against the flu virus at your nearest AltaMed medical center to protect yourself and your family. To schedule a flu shot, please call (888) 499-9303. See hours and locations for clinics near you.

COVID-19 Symptoms Changing Along with the Virus