With Christmas only a few days away, many are worrying about whether they’ve unknowingly picked up the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Here are the earliest symptoms to look out for
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Omicron cases have been surging across the UK, throwing Christmas into limbo with fears of more restrictions including a potential lockdown, looming.
People have been cutting their social contact down in an effort to avoid catching the new coronavirus variant, but experts have warned that Omicron is more transmissible.
They have also revealed that while Covid-19 symptoms for Delta and other strains come on between five and 14 days, Omicron symptoms may appear sooner.
According to health science company Zoe, the first symptoms which can appear as quickly as 48 hours after you’ve been infected with Omicron include runny nose, dry/scratchy throat, headache, fatigue and sneezing.
How do symptoms of Omicron vary from other variants?
According to the NHS, the most common symptoms of coronavirus a high temperature, a new and continuous cough, and a loss/ change to your sense of taste or smell.
However, new data has revealed that Omicron symptoms vary from the ‘traditional’ signs of other variants like Delta.
Professor Tim Spector, the scientist behind symptom tracker app Zoe, described the symptoms of Omicron as being more similar to that of a common cold. He warned that those with cold-like symptoms should still take a Covid test to make sure.
Another common symptoms besides the five revealed by Zoe is congestion, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms of Omicron have been described as “extremely mild”, by South African doctor Dr Angelique Coetzee, who first raised the alarm on the new variant.
But Dr Coetzee has also warned that certain symptoms like headaches and sore muscles may be felt more intensely, particularly by those who are unvaccinated. Those who have had two doses of the Covid vaccine may present with less severe symptoms.
What should I do if I have Covid symptoms?
If you believe that you have Covid or are experiencing any symptoms, the NHS advises that you should :
- Get a PCR test as soon as possible.
- Stay at home and self-isolate. You should not have visitors until you get your test result and only leave your home to have a test. You should also check if people you live with need to self-isolate.
Those have Covid can infect others from around two days before symptoms start for up to 10 days after. The infection can be passed on to others, even if you mild or no symptoms which is why government guidance recommends we stay-at-home until we test negative.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.