Sunday, August 14

What are the symptoms of Omicron? Can it be distinguished from other variants?

At this point, when the explosion of infections continues and the Omicron variant begins to threaten the capacity of hospitals, any discomfort seems to have become one of the symptoms of having caught the coronavirus.

A little cold, a small cough, a cheese that smells less than it should, a couple of sneezes in a row, the usual headache but now seems different … everything unleashes the fear that we are infected.

And the alarm sounds in the family, and we are going to queue at the health center …

It is true that neither the obsession we have, nor the fear it generates, nor the reaction it provokes seem too rational. But the real consequence is that everything begins to saturate. And hospitals have already started to have site problems.

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We want to know which variant has infected us

Today,contrary to what the WHO says, the claim that Ómicron does not cause serious diseases has become fashionable.

For that reason, most of us want to be able to detect if that fever or that positive antigen test is really Omicron… or should we be concerned.

And while most rapid antigen and PCR tests can detect this particular variant (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has assured that there are only some tests that do not), the results do not tell the user which variant they are infected with.

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Are the symptoms of Omicron different?

We could say that there are subtle differences between the symptoms of the Omicron variant and the previous ones.

Even if some differences in symptoms are considered reliable, based on preliminary data, the truth is that experts are not sure if they are significant.

We are talking about symptoms based on data released last week by the largest private health insurer in South Africa.

According to her, South Africans infected by Ómicron often develop an itchy or sore throat along with a stuffy nose, dry cough and muscle pain, especially low back pain.

Do we have data on the most frequent symptoms in Spain?

In our country we already have data because the Ministry of Health has just made it public.

They list as the main symptoms of the new variant

They even add that occasionally, in the most severe cases, the Omicron variant can cause

It is true that in one way or another all these symptoms of the Omicron variant could also be attributable to the Delta variant, and even the original coronavirus, but experts assure that

“It is still too early to safely identify differences between the symptoms of Omicron and previous versions.”

Loss of sense of smell and taste in Omicron

One of the most characteristic symptoms of the previous strains was the loss of the sense of smell and taste. But in this variant it is a much less frequent problem

Quantified in data, the research to date suggests an important difference:

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– While those infected with the original variant of SARS-CoV-2 reported loss of smell by 48% and loss of taste by 41%

– An analysis of a small outbreak of Omicron among vaccinated people in the Netherlands found that only 23% of patients reported loss of taste and only 12% reported loss of smell.

It remains to be confirmed whether these differences are due to the new variant or are a consequence of the vaccination status of the people analyzed.

Symptoms vary by vaccination status

Another conclusion that researchers are reaching after various analyzes is that many symptoms of Covid-19 vary depending on the status of a person’s vaccine.

Specifically, in a study by the University of New York, it considers that:

– While vaccinated patients tend to have headaches and congestion, with pressure in the sinuses that can cause pain,

– unvaccinated patients are more likely to have shortness of breath and cough, along with flu-like symptoms.

In other words, vaccinated patients who have been infected with Ómicron describe their illness as a bad cold, with the typical headaches, muscle aches and fever,

Unvaccinated people have the same shortness of breath, cough, and flu-like symptoms that already occurred in unvaccinated people who were infected with Delta or the parent coronavirus.

The incubation time difference

Although it is not exactly a symptom, it is an important difference between the Omicron variant and the previous ones.

After someone is exposed, it takes just 3 days for that person to develop symptoms, become contagious, and test positive, compared to 4-6 days with Delta, which was behavior equal to the original coronavirus,

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As Dr. Waleed Javaid, director of infection prevention and control at Mount Sinai in New York City, says, this could be because mutations in the variant help the coronavirus adhere to and enter cells faster. added.

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