These 2 new COVID symptoms could mean you have Omicron, experts warn! These signs have not previously been associated with COVID infection.
The Omicron variant has swept the world in a short time, leading to an increase in COVID cases, breakthrough infections, and reinfections. This new version of the virus has already resulted in more than one million new COVID cases being reported daily in the U.S. as of January 3, and virus experts expect the surge to continue throughout the month, if not longer. It is estimated that more than 95 percent of cases in the country are caused by Omicron, and each time the virus evolves, the disease it causes may also change. According to experts, there are two new COVID symptoms that the Omicron variant can cause that were not previously associated with the virus. Read on to find out what surprising COVID symptoms you should watch out for now.
The Omicron variant can cause these side effects
If you wake up with an upset stomach, don’t dismiss it. The UK-based Zoe COVID app recently updated its list of common Omicron symptoms to include nausea and loss of appetite, reports the Daily Express. While gastrointestinal symptoms have been anecdotally linked to previous variants of the virus, they have never been considered common or standalone symptoms.
“One of my patients … was admitted with a complaint of loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. As per protocol, we performed RT-PCR, which was positive,” Sanket Jain, a pulmonary specialist at Masina Hospital in India, told the news agency. “Such symptoms are commonly seen these days, especially with Omicron infections.”
These two symptoms may be more common in breakthrough infections
Milder gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and loss of appetite could indicate a milder case of COVID, which is more common in breakthrough Omicron infections. Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and director of the ZOE-COVID study app, said in a YouTube video that these two gastrointestinal symptoms are more likely in infections among fully vaccinated and boosted individuals.
“Some of them had nausea (and therefore loss of appetite), low-grade fever, sore throat and headache,” Spector said, referring to an outbreak in a group that had received all two or three vaccinations.
The Omicron variant also causes a lot of cold-like symptoms.
Of course, people with Omicron also have some typical COVID symptoms that resemble a cold. Dr. Robert Goldszer, chief medical officer at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Florida, recently told WSVN-TV that many people infected with the new variant think they just have a cold, as most patients report a sore throat, headache and fever.
Goldszer says there are some clear differences between cold symptoms and COVID symptoms. “A couple of differences are, I think, significant fever with COVID. People have more fever on one or two days, and of course if you get significant lung symptoms, if you get severe cough for a long time, any kind of shortness of breath, those things are unusual with the common cold,” he explained.
Some previously common COVID symptoms, however, are less likely with the Omicron variant.
Don’t wait for certain telltale COVID symptoms to appear before getting tested: Virus experts have recently warned that the Omicron variant is less likely to cause a loss of taste or smell in infected individuals than earlier variants. Previous research found that nearly 48 percent of patients with the original COVID strain suffered from loss of smell and 41 percent from loss of taste. However, a small analysis of an Omicron outbreak among vaccinated individuals in Norway found that only 23 percent reported taste loss and only 12 percent reported odor loss.
Dr. Andrew Pekosz, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told The New York Times that people with Omicron may be more likely to report symptoms such as nausea because odor loss is less common, making it easier to watch for milder symptoms.