Omicron sub-variant discussed by infectious disease expert
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Omicron BA.5 – the latest Omicron spin-off – is causing a surge of symptomatic cases across the UK. Over four million Britons are estimated to have symptomatic Covid right now. Thankfully, hospitalisations and deaths are being kept at bay thanks to high vaccination rates and natural immunity. However, Omicron BA.5 is infecting people who were immune to earlier forms of Omicron and other variants.
This mutational advantage is being reflected in the symptom reports, which are coming thick and fast.
One of the most chilling reports comes from Doctor Mike Hansen, a critical care physician and pulmonary medicine specialist who has been a prominent voice throughout the pandemic.
In his latest Youtube video, Doctor Hansen recalled own recent experiences of testing positive for what he assumes to be the now-dominant BA.5 strain of the coronavirus, and what his symptoms and recovery have looked like.
One of the symptoms he was hit with was “extremely painful”, he revealed.
A couple of days after attending a concert, Hansen began to notice symptoms including fatigue, fever, sore throat, a runny nose, and finally a cough.
“The worst part was the first three to four days,” he said.
“Even though my sore throat really didn’t bother me when I would drink liquid or swallow food, whenever I had saliva in the back of my throat and I would go to swallow, that was extremely painful.”
He noted that a sore throat has, up until now, been a relatively uncommon symptom, but that there is increasing anecdotal evidence that more people are experiencing a sore throat after contracting the Omicron BA.5 variant.
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Indeed, data from millions of ZOE Health Study app contributors suggests a sore throat is becoming an increasingly common symptom.
The ZOE Health Study has gathered data from millions of users throughout the pandemic.
According to the ZOE data, a sore throat is now a very common symptom of COVID-19 for all age groups.
“On average, seven out of ten adults who are double or triple jabbed will get a sore throat with the Omicron variant,” the ZOE researchers said.
During all Covid waves, a sore throat has been an early symptom of the virus, usually appearing in the first week of illness and improving quite quickly.
It feels worse on the first day of infection but gets better on each following day.
“On average, a sore throat could last five days. If your sore throat is persisting beyond this, it’s unlikely to be COVID-19,” the ZOE team said.
They found that during the earlier waves, a sore throat was most likely to occur alongside many other symptoms of COVID-19. People reported a sore throat with varying combinations of symptoms.
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If you have a sore throat it could be COVID-19, especially if you have other cold-like symptoms.
According to the NHS, symptoms of COVID-19 in adults can include:
- A high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or exhausted
- An aching body
- A headache
- A blocked or runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling sick or being sick.
“Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms of COVID-19,” advises the health body.
It adds: “Take extra care to avoid close contact with anyone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.”
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