Expert on everything you need to know about Omicron Covid symptoms

For nearly two years, millions of citizens have submitted health reports to the on a daily basis ZOE COVID studythat helps us keep track of the pandemic as it unfolds. In particular, the 480 million reports submitted through the study’s app have shown that as the virus has developed, so have the symptoms it causes.

As early as 2020 it was quickly clear that the original and alpha versions of the coronavirus caused three very common symptoms – cough, fever and loss of smell – as well as at least 20 others. These included fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, muscle pain and gastrointestinal problems, but also more unusual phenomena such as Rashes and “COVID tongue”.

Then when Delta showed up we noticed a shift in the most commonly reported symptoms. Symptoms that were common in the past, such as shortness of breath, fever and loss of smell, fell back in the ranking. Cold-like symptoms – including a runny nose, sore throat, and persistent sneezing – were more common with headaches and coughs, especially in vaccinated people.

Omicron seems to be continuing the trend set by delta. It causes symptoms more like the common cold, especially in people who have been vaccinated, and less common systemic symptoms like nausea, muscle pain, diarrhea, and rashes.

We looked at health reports from people who said they had COVID in December when Omicron spread to the UK and compared them to data from early October when Delta was the predominant variant. We then verified our results from this comparison by also analyzing data from a small group of contributors who had been notified by the government that their positive PCR results were suspected or confirmed Omicron infections.

Our analysis has shown no significant difference in the overall symptom profile of Delta and Omicron, with the five most common symptoms in both periods being runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, and sore throat. But when it comes to the overall prevalence of symptoms, there are some distinct differences.

For example, anosmia (loss of smell or taste) was in the top ten in October, but has dropped to 17th place. What was once an important indicator of COVID is now only seen in around one in five people who tested positive. And according to our data, less than a third of people (29%) will ever develop a fever, which is also much less common than in the past.

Importantly, only half of people with COVID had any of the three classic symptoms of fever, cough, or loss of smell, which suggests that the Government guidance PCR testing (which suggests you should get a test if you have any of these three symptoms) is pathetically out of date.

How bad is Omicron?

This new variant is much more contagious than previous variants, resulting in a Increase in cases across the UK and in other countries. And while it’s not yet clear whether we will face an overwhelming wave of hospital admissions due to the illness, it’s important to remember that while Omicron and Delta may feel like a cold to many of us, they are still killing or long-term Cause symptoms that interfere with daily life, especially in unvaccinated or immunocompromised people.

So far we’ve seen most of the cases in younger people, but we’re seeing cases now too increases in the older age groups while the overall infection rate remains so high. The recent surge in positive cases among those over 75 is worrying, but we hope that the UK’s high vaccination rates will continue to result in milder symptoms and fewer hospitalizations in older and more at-risk groups. The main problem with omicron is rather that Wave of illness it causes in key health workers.

Is it Omicron or a cold?

If we go further into the depths of winter here in the UK there are some pretty nasty colds as well as the perennial flu. The data from the ZOE COVID study app tells us that the symptoms caused by the current variants of COVID are very similar to those of a common cold. This means that it is not possible to be certain of what you have based on the symptoms alone. If the COVID rate is high, a new sore throat, runny nose, or unusual tiredness should be treated as COVID until tested.

Because contributors to the ZOE COVID study app log all of the daily symptoms they experience as well as all COVID test results, we can also track the prevalence of non-COVID colds. Just three months ago, around one in twelve people with new respiratory symptoms tested positive for COVID. With Omicron, however, around 50% of “new colds” are actually COVID.

So if you or a family member is feeling uncomfortable, there’s a good chance it’s COVID, especially if you sniff and sniff a lot. You should stay home and get tested for safety. Remember that while lateral flow tests are good, especially if you blot both your throat and nose, they are less sensitive than PCR tests. If you do, try to repeat it in the following days as a single negative result from the side flow is not a guarantee that you are not infected.

Regardless of government guidelines, whether or not you have COVID, your best bet is to stay home if you are feeling sick with strange or cold-like symptoms, and to avoid contact and wear a mask when you go out To avoid passing your germs on to others who may be more vulnerable.

Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London

This article was republished by The conversation under a Creative Commons license. read this original article.

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