With flu season and Omicron taking the country by storm right now, staying on top of your health should be a high priority. While there's no surefire way to prevent illness, taking precautions like washing your hands, social distancing, wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, working out, having a healthy diet and getting vaccinated make a big difference. In the event you do get sick, here's the symptoms of Omicron to watch out for according to experts Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Signs You Have Omicron
According to Robert G. Lahita MD, Ph.D. ("Dr. Bob"), Director of the Institute for Autoimmune and Rheumatic Disease at Saint Joseph Health and author of Immunity Strong "The signs you have of Omicron are very similar to other variants of COVID, although people with Omicron are less likely to lose their taste and smell than those with other variants. The same signs apply: cough, congestion, fatigue, sore throat, shortness of breath, etc. Because these are similar to symptoms for the common cold or flu, it will be difficult to tell if you have COVID without getting a test. If you have these symptoms, isolate until you can determine whether or not it is COVID." Keep reading to see three common symptoms.
Three Common Omicron Symptoms
Dr. Kristina Hendija says, "Based on my experience, the following symptoms (arranged from the most to least) are common amongst those with Omicron infection:
Cough– like its mother variant, omicron still affects the respiratory tract leading to either productive or non-productive cough. Patients also often complain that they feel that they want to expectorate phlegm but are unable to do so despite coughing repeatedly.
Fever– majority of the patients express having bouts of fever although the claim is subjective for most. They often mention experiencing chills and a feverish sensation which only lasts for a day or two.
Fatigue– an expected effect whenever there is an infectious process but unlike the previous Delta variant, complaints about easy fatigability and weakness are significantly less."
You might also have these other common COVID symptoms: Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; Muscle or body aches; Headache; New loss of taste or smell; Sore throat; Congestion or runny nose; Nausea or vomiting; and Diarrhea.
How to Tell Omicron From the Cold or Flu
"The best way to tell if you have a variant of COVID is to get a test," says Dr. Bob. "The most accurate are the PCR tests, but if you can't get one of those, home tests are about 84% accurate when used correctly. If you lose your taste and smell, it's most likely NOT the flu or a cold—and more likely to be COVID."
How Do Omicron Symptoms Vary from COVID?
Dr. Bob states, "Omicron is a variant of COVID. This is the same virus as we originally saw two years ago, but it is mutating and changing—just like the flu does. That is why we have to get a flu shot every year. The symptoms are going to be almost the same as other variants, but Omicron is showing to be more mild and have less of a chance to cause loss of taste and smell."
Omicron and Lack of Essential Vitamins
Maryam Azhar, a nutritionist with Marham reveals, "While giving nutritional advice to COVID positive patients over the last year, I have noticed that their diet usually lacks essential vitamins that provide antioxidants and boost immunity. These deficiencies are primarily due to the low intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Therefore, with the new omicron variant on the rise, I recommend everyone to get the required amounts of vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin C, A, and D. Take at least 65 mg of Vitamin C, 700 mcg of Vitamin A, and 600 IU of Vitamin D daily, preferably from natural sources." The CDC agrees that general good health can help prevent illness.
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.