With Omicron presenting differently than previous coronavirus variants, it can be hard to know if you’ve been infected with Covid or not. Is a sore throat a symptom of Omicron. Here’s what you need to know
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Typical signs of coronavirus have changed over the course of the pandemic as the virus mutated and new variants have emerged.
The original three symptoms that people were told to look out for were fever, a new and continuous cough and loss or change of taste or smell.
However, there are now more than 20 reported symptoms of Covid, with signs of the Omicron variant showing up very differently from what we’re used to.
According to Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist behind the ZOE app Covid study, cold-like symptoms have been the predominant feature of Omicron.
Here’s what you need to know about one of the earliest signs of the virus.
Is a sore throat an Omicron symptom?
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Scientists have reported that those who tested positive with the Omicron variant present with a dry cough and a “scratchy throat”. This symptom has been one of the initial signs of infection reported by 89% of people who have been infected.
Since sore throats can be linked with other conditions like allergies and cold, it can be difficult to tell if you’re experiencing a Covid symptom.
The difference between a sore throat and scratchy throat is that sore throats are painful especially while swallowing, but scratchy throats are more itchy and irritated. So it’s best to keep tabs on how your throat feels.
The scratchy throat also causes you to develop a hoarse voice, which has also been reported as an early sign of Omicron.
What are the main symptoms of Omicron?
Besides the scratchy throat, the other common symptoms of Omicron are a runny nose, headache, muscle pains, fatigue and sneezing.
Some of the more unusual symptoms include skin rashes, lower back pain, night sweats and sleep paralysis, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea and sore eyes.
While most Omicron symptoms have been described as mild, Dr Angelique Coetzee, the South African doctor who first raised the alarm on the new variant, warned that certain signs like headaches and myalgia could be felt more intensely by unvaccinated people.
When should I get a PCR test done?
The NHS recommends that you should get a PCR test if you have any of the following symptoms: high temperature, new continuous cough or loss of taste or sense of smell.
If you have any of the common symptoms of Covid, self-isolate immediately and get tested, even if you’ve been vaccinated.
Under new rules, you don’t have get a PCR test if you are asymptomatic, even if your lateral flow test is positive. This means your self-isolation period ends earlier as long as you test negative on the lateral flow test.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.