WITH a new variant to contend with and the so-called 'super cold' doing the rounds, what are the signs and symptoms to watch for?
While the key symptoms of Covid-19 are well-known, experts have claimed the symptoms of Omicron could be different to what we are used to.
Scientists are still waiting for more data to come out about the 'horrific' new strain before determining how dangerous it is.
Samples are currently being tested and once these have been processed experts will have a better idea of how effective vaccines will be against the strain.
In order to get on the front foot against Omicron, the UK government has reintroduced mask wearing in shops and on public transport and has urged all those eligible to come forward for their boosters.
The three main symptoms of Covid-19 highlighted by the NHS are a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell and if you experience these you should get a PCR test.
But throughout the pandemic, Professor Tim Spector of King's College London and the lead on the ZOE Symptom Tracker app has said that the government needs to update its symptom list to include signs such as a headache and fatigue.
As Omicron is new, it's not yet clear what the symptoms might be, but experts have said they might not be as intense as those caused by the Alpha or Delta variants.
The doctor who first sounded the alarm about the Omicron variant has claimed that it causes different symptoms.
It was for this reason that she initially pushed for testing, wondering why young men that came to the clinic did not have the classic signs of Covid.
Dr Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and chair of the South African Medical Association, suggests the main symptoms of Omicron are fatigue, body aches and headache.
Dr Coetzee, who is also on the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines, told Reuters that unlike Delta, so far patients have not reported loss of smell or taste.
She said all the patients she had seen herself so far had mild illness.
This she said included people being extremely tired and in children, an elevated heart rate.
This could be for a number of reasons, including the fact patients were younger or that at least half had been vaccinated.
In South Africa, the average age of the population is 27.
What are the most common Omicron symptoms?
While experts are still learning about the variant – they say symptoms are milder.
The most common symptoms so far are:
- Body aches
- Raise heart rate in children
Most common Covid-19 symptoms determined by the NHS:
- loss of taste or smell
- high temperature
- new persistant cough
If you think you have Covid-19 you should get a test and isolate.
This means many younger people would be contracting the virus and would be more likely to get over it faster and not suffer from severe side effects.
In contrast, the average age in the UK is 40.
This could mean that Brits are at higher risk of the variant as older people are more likely to suffer harsher symptoms.
Prof Spector previously warned people to be alert as Covid symptoms are now looking more and more like the common cold.
Prof Spector said: “Overall one in four of those who had cold symptoms in the month of October had proven Covid in our app.
“In October, you had a pretty high chance it was Covid.
“But in June, it was about one in 11. It’s a three-fold difference in just a few months so that's why it's important to know baseline levels.”
The Office for National Statistics, another nationwide Covid tracking study, also report that “the most commonly reported symptoms continue to be cough, fatigue and headache”.
Other symptoms which are part of the virus spectrum include nausea, diarrhoea or abdominal pain.
Ultimately, there is a lot scientists do not know about the Omicron variant, which was only detected on November 23.
Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said it will be at least another three weeks before more information is gained.
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