Omicron Symptoms Usually Appear Like This

Check if you've been infected with Omicron. 

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has spread rapidly throughout the world—the first case was only three weeks ago in South Africa. According to the most recent CDC data, it was accountable for 73 % of COVID infections in the United States last week. It's extremely contagious—scientists estimate it's twice as contagious as the Delta variant, which was twice as contagious as the original COIVD strain—so use extreme caution. How can you tell if you've been infected with Omicron, how serious the infection is, and what you should do about it? Read on to learn more. 

1. These May Be The Primary Symptoms of Omicron

The following are the most common signs of an Omicron infection, according to Dr. Katherine Poehling, a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, who spoke to NBC News on Wednesday: 

  • Cough 
  • Tiredness or fatigue 
  • Congestion and a runny nose  
  • She said, unlike previous variants, loss of taste and smell seems to be uncommon. 

2. Omicron Symptoms In Country Where It Originated 

According to South Africa's biggest private health insurer, South Africans with an Omicron infection often develop. 

  • scratchy or sore throat 
  • nasal congestion 
  • dry cough 
  • muscle pain, especially low back pain 

How severe do the symptoms tend to be? Read on. 

3. Symptoms May Vary Based on Vaccination Status 

According to experts, Omicron appears to be causing milder symptoms than previous variants. Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told NBC, "It is obvious that if you're vaccinated, particularly if you've got a booster, Omicron tends to produce milder infections." "What we haven't seen yet is a substantial body of information about what Omicron will do in people who haven't been vaccinated," he continued. 

4. But Research Isn't Conclusive 

However, doctors warn that additional data is needed before claiming that Omicron causes various symptoms. "It's still too soon to determine whether the Omicron variant differs from previous variants in terms of symptoms," Ashley Z. Ritter, an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania, told the New York Times on Wednesday. 

5. Another Potential Difference 

Early evidence suggests that Omicron's incubation period—the time it takes for an infected person to develop symptoms after becoming infected with the virus—might be shorter than previous variants: It used to take approximately a week, but Omicron might develop in as little as three days. 

6. Other Common COVID Symptoms 

The following are the most prevalent COVID-19 symptoms, according to the CDC: 

  • Fever or chills 
  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle or body aches 
  • Headache 
  • New loss of taste or smell 
  • Sore throat 
  • Congestion or runny nose 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 

7. Is It Omicron? 

So, how do you know whether your cough or sore throat is caused by a cold or COVID? Experts claim that you can't. 

Their advice: If you're experiencing any unusual symptoms, get tested for COVID as soon as possible—even if you've been completely vaccinated or boosted—and self-isolate until you get the results. 

"Even if you think it's just allergies," S. Wesley Long, medical director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist Hospital, said this week, "it's best for you to go ahead and get a COVID test to make sure you don't have it before you go to work, school, or church because those symptoms can be very mild." 

If you test positive for COVID, the CDC recommends isolating yourself for ten days after any symptoms appear (as long as your symptoms are improving and you haven't had a fever in at least 24 hours without taking any fever-reducing medications). If you test positive for COVID but don't have any symptoms, you should isolate for ten days starting from your test date. 

8. How to Stay Safe Out There 

No matter where you live, get vaccinated as soon as possible; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you aren't sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene. 

RELATED: Doctors Say "Do Not" Do This After Your COVID Booster

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