What we know about Omicron symptoms so far

The list of symptoms associated with COVID-19 is long, including everything from loss of taste and smell arrive skin condition. But since the pandemic began, health authorities have highlighted a few telltale signs, namely a cough and fever.

However, as people around the world are searching, cases involving the Omicron variant don’t always produce those symptoms. During the Omicron wave, many people reported symptoms that resembled the common cold, with some confusing additions — like lower back pain.

There’s still a lot to learn, but here’s what we know so far about the symptoms of Omicron.
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What are the most common Omicron symptoms?

The reports were different. But overall, “this Omicron variant behaves like a normal coronavirus,” such as those that cause the common cold, said Dr. Stephanie Sterling, an infectious disease physician at NYU Langone Health.

That shift started with the Delta variant and remains true for Omicron, said Tim Spector, a genetic epidemiologist who founded the consumer health company ZOE. a COVID-19 symptom tracking app of which more than 4.7 million people have contributed data. ZOE data suggest that the five most common symptoms associated with Omicron runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and sore throat.

“Classic symptoms like fever, cough, and loss of smell are less common in Delta than in Alpha,” says Spector, and cold-like symptoms … become more common. “Omicron actually increased that rather subtle change.”

Other studies have reached slightly different conclusions. South Africa’s largest health insurance company paralysis of the nose, sore or itchy throat, dry cough and lower back pain like common Omicron symptoms. And a Small study from Norway found that, among people in a cluster of cases, cough was the most common symptom associated with the variant, followed by runny nose and fatigue. Like ZOE, the Norwegian researchers also observed a significant reduction in odor and loss of taste.

Obviously, symptoms can vary from person to person, so people shouldn’t assume they don’t have COVID just because they don’t have classic symptoms like cough and fever. At least in areas where Omicron is common, Sterling says, “the second you get a respiratory illness, you have to assume it’s Omicron.”

Are most people experiencing mild symptoms from Omicron?

Data from early Omicron hotspots including South Africa, the United Kingdom, and New York City suggest that this variant causes milder disease than its older cousins. ONE UK report from the end of December It was found in 2021 that, compared with people infected by the Delta variant, people with Omicron-related infections were half as likely to seek emergency room care or require hospitalization.

But even a mild case of COVID-19 can still make you feel quite ill and potentially lead to long-term complications such as: Long COVID. (More research is needed to determine How often does this happen?.) It is also not entirely clear whether Omicron itself is milder than other versions of COVID-19, or whether population-level immunity from previous vaccination and exposure reduces some of its worst outcomes or not, Sterling said. It’s still a good idea keep precautions, especially if you are not fully vaccinated or at risk of getting sick.

Why are the symptoms of Omicron different from those of other variants?

Sterling says:

Initial Data Proposal Omicrons mainly accumulate in the upper respiratory tract, as opposed to penetrating the lungs. This could help explain both its reduced lethality and, potentially, why it often causes upper respiratory tract symptoms, such as a runny nose and sore throat. But the variant is still new and research is ongoing.

How do I know if I have Omicron or another variant?

When you take most standard COVID-19 test, you will only get a positive or negative result; if you are infected, it won’t tell you which strain is the culprit. You may never know unless the health authority sends your sample for genetic sequencing (and shares the results with you). Symptoms provide clues, but even two people exposed to the virus at the same time can feel different.

If you are so sick that you need to be hospitalized, doctors may want to know which strain has infected you, because certain therapies are not effective with Omicron Sterling said like other versions of COVID-19. But if you have a mild case, don’t spend too much effort trying to find the variant you come across. You will need to rest and isolate yourself from others until your symptoms subside, no matter what.

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