The checklist of signs related to COVID-19 is lengthy, spanning every thing from misplaced style and odor to pores and skin situations. However for the reason that pandemic started, well being authorities have emphasised a couple of hallmark indicators, specifically coughing and fever.
As individuals the world over are discovering, although, instances associated to the Omicron variant don’t all the time produce these signs. In the course of the Omicron wave, many individuals are reporting signs extra according to a standard chilly, with some puzzling additions—like decrease again ache.
There’s nonetheless quite a bit to be discovered, however right here’s what we all know to this point in regards to the signs of Omicron.
What are the commonest Omicron signs?
Experiences have different. However general, “this Omicron variant is appearing extra like a standard coronavirus,” akin to those who trigger the widespread chilly, says Dr. Stephanie Sterling, an infectious illnesses doctor at NYU Langone Well being.
That shift started with the Delta variant and has remained true of Omicron, says Tim Spector, a genetic epidemiologist who based the patron well being firm ZOE, which runs a COVID-19 symptom monitoring app to which greater than 4.7 million individuals have contributed knowledge. ZOE’s knowledge counsel that the 5 commonest signs related to Omicron are runny nostril, headache, fatigue, sneezing and sore throat.
“The basic signs of fever, cough and lack of odor had been barely much less frequent with Delta than with Alpha, and the cold-like signs…grew to become extra widespread,” Spector says. “Omicron has actually simply elevated that quite delicate change.”
Different analysis has come to barely completely different conclusions. South Africa’s largest well being insurer listed nasal congestion, sore or scratchy throat, dry cough and decrease again ache as widespread Omicron signs. And a small research from Norway discovered that, amongst individuals in a single case cluster, a cough was the commonest symptom related to the variant, adopted by runny nostril and fatigue. Like ZOE, the Norwegian researchers additionally noticed a big lower in odor and style loss.
Clearly, signs can differ from individual to individual, so individuals shouldn’t assume they’re COVID-free simply because they don’t have basic signs like cough and fever. At the least in areas the place Omicron is prevalent, Sterling says, “the second you get respiratory sickness, you must presume it’s Omicron.”
Are most individuals experiencing delicate signs from Omicron?
Information from early Omicron hotspots together with South Africa, the U.Ok. and New York Metropolis counsel that the variant causes milder illness than its older cousins. A U.Ok. report from late December 2021 discovered that, in comparison with individuals contaminated by the Delta variant, individuals with Omicron-related infections had been about half as more likely to search care in an emergency division or require hospitalization.
However even a gentle case of COVID-19 can nonetheless make you are feeling fairly sick and doubtlessly result in lasting issues like Lengthy COVID. (Extra analysis is required to find out how typically this occurs.) It’s additionally not totally clear whether or not Omicron is itself milder than different variations of COVID-19, or whether or not population-level immunity from vaccinations and former exposures is mitigating a few of its worst outcomes, Sterling says. It’s nonetheless a good suggestion to maintain up precautions, notably should you’re not absolutely vaccinated or are in any other case weak.
Why do Omicron signs differ from these of different variants?
Researchers are nonetheless attempting to reply that query, however the important thing “clearly lies in these a number of genetic modifications that we’ve seen” on this variant in comparison with previous ones, Sterling says.
Early knowledge counsel Omicron largely accumulates within the higher airways, versus penetrating the lungs. This might assist clarify each its lowered lethality and, doubtlessly, why it typically causes higher respiratory signs, like runny nostril and sore throat. However the variant remains to be new and analysis is ongoing.
How can I inform if I’m contaminated with Omicron or one other variant?
Once you take most traditional COVID-19 assessments, you’ll solely get a optimistic or unfavourable outcome; should you’re contaminated, it received’t inform you which pressure is the perpetrator. You might by no means know except well being authorities ship your pattern out for genetic sequencing (and share the outcomes with you). Signs provide clues, however even two individuals uncovered to the virus on the identical time may really feel in another way.
Should you’re sick sufficient to want hospitalization, docs would possibly need to know which pressure contaminated you, as a result of sure therapies don’t work as effectively towards Omicron as different variations of COVID-19, Sterling says. However when you have a gentle case, don’t spend an excessive amount of vitality attempting to determine which variant you caught. You’ll must relaxation and isolate your self from others till signs subside, it doesn’t matter what.