Omicron symptoms and signs to look out for have proved different to the other variants of COVID, such as Delta.
So far Omicron symptoms have also been generally milder than those associated with the previously dominant Delta variant.
There are five signs that are often seen in cases of the Omicron variant of COVID:
- a scratchy, dry throat,
- extreme tiredness,
- runny nose,
- and headache.
The scratchy, dry throat is in contrast to Delta variant COVID, which tends to produce a sore throat and a dry, persistent cough.
Fever and sense of smell
The Omicron variant is not so strongly linked to some other signs that are frequently connected to COVID.
For example, a loss of the sense of smell does not seem to be linked to Omicron.
Similarly, people with Omicron are not reporting a high fever as often.
Infection with the Omicron variant can be difficult to diagnose without testing because the symptoms vary between people.
It will depend on the person’s age, their vaccination status and other biological factors specific to them.
Some people may experience a very heavy cold, others lighter symptoms and others no symptoms at all.
Having been infected with the Delta variant of COVID before, though, is no guarantee of avoiding Omicron.
Because the virus has mutated, it is possible to catch Omicron even after prior infection with Delta.
However, both prior infection and vaccination are very likely to reduce the risk of serious symptoms and hospitalisation.
A PCR test is currently the best widely available way to test for a COVID infection.
Follow-up gene sequencing can help to determine the COVID variant.
The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly around the world.
In some part of the U.S. it now accounts for 15 percent of all cases of COVID.
It is thought to spread at least twice as fast as the Delta variant.