In some comforting news amid Omicron spread globally, South Africa have passed the peak of Covid-19 infections, raising alarms across the country.
Although the variant has been mild so far, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases has become a major source of concern.
Furthermore, the belief that the new variant is mild, has made a lot of people negligent. While some dismiss the symptoms as harmless, others mistake it to be a regular cold, and roam around freely, spreading the virus to other people.
At such a time, it is important to be knowledgeable about all the symptoms associated with COVID-19 and its variants.
Common Omicron symptoms to watch out for
According to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis, cough, fatigue, congestion and runny nose are the four most common symptoms of the Omicron variant.
Professor Tim Spector of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, also the head of UK’s ZOE Covid study app, urges everyone suffering with cold-like symptoms to get tested immediately. As per him, mild fever, fatigue, scratchy throat, body pain, night sweats without any sign of loss of sense of smell and taste can signal an Omicron infection.
In a recent update, he also highlighted that nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite are also some of the symptoms reported by Omicron patients.
Keeping in view the rising number of COVID cases in the UK, Doctor Claire Steves, one of the scientists on the ZOE Covid Study app, has urged the Government to update its official list of symptoms. “It’s good news to see that fewer people are newly sick than a few weeks ago.
However, the fact that 75 percent of new cold-like symptoms are Covid, and the classic symptoms are much less common, means the Government advice needs to be urgently updated,” she said.
Having said that, let us see what these symptoms are that need to be taken into account.
1. Sore throat
Sore or scratchy throat is a symptom that came to the forefront since the beginning of the emergence of the Omicron variant. It could be associated with pain and irritation in the throat.
Dr Angelique Coetzee, Chairperson of the South African Medical Association, who also was the first to detect the Omicron variant, had earlier said that most patients infected with the new variant reported a “scratchy” throat with mild body temperature that gets better on its own.
Headache is a condition that can arise due to multiple reasons. But as far as COVID-19 or Omicron variant is concerned, scientists have urged that it be added to the official symptoms list.
Given the inflammation that takes place in the body post-infection, headache is a common ailment that may arise thereafter. The pain may range from sharp to dull, that may occur with other symptoms.
3. Runny nose
So far, most Omicron symptoms are said to coincide with a common cold or flu, which is making it difficult to tell whether what one has is COVID-19 or a regular cold.
Runny nose is a symptom that has time and again been associated with the coronavirus. Whether in case of breakthrough infection or an infection with the Omicron variant, runny nose has become more common in COVID-19 patients.
The most accurate way to determine a COVID-19 infection is through an RT-PCR test. While at-home tests may be a more convenient option to get a more prompt result, a molecular test can best tell you the exact results.
Professor Tim Spector recommends anyone who has developed cold symptoms to get themselves tested for COVID-19, so as to curb the spread of the virus. It is also advisable to stay home until and unless you know what you’re suffering from. The CDC recommends at least 10 days of home isolation from symptoms onset.