Home Health News Omicron infections often start with a scratchy throat, doctors say — evidence of the changing nature of COVID-19 symptoms

Omicron infections often start with a scratchy throat, doctors say — evidence of the changing nature of COVID-19 symptoms

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Dr. Carlos Ramirez conducts an examination on Juan Perez, 50, in Oakland, California, on May 12, 2020.Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images

  • Sore throat seems to be a widespread, early symptom of an Omicron an infection.

  • Patients in South Africa, the UK, and the US reported scratchy throats previous to different symptoms.

  • Omicron might infect the throat earlier than the nostril, in contrast to different variants, some specialists say.

At the finish of December, Dr. Jorge Moreno and his colleagues have been monitoring 5 COVID-19 sufferers per day at their outpatient clinic in Connecticut. Then final week, “things exploded,” Moreno mentioned. The clinic had practically 100 COVID-19 sufferers as of Monday, he mentioned, pushed largely by the fast unfold of the Omicron variant.

Many of these new sufferers reported the identical ailment: a dry, sore throat that prompted sharp ache after they swallowed and appeared to seem earlier than most different COVID-19 symptoms.

“It’s a very prominent symptom,” Moreno, an assistant professor of medication at Yale School of Medicine, instructed Insider. “It’s not like a little tickle in the throat. If they’re reporting it, they’re saying that their throat feels raw.”

Doctors in Norway, South Africa, and the UK have equally recognized a sore or scratchy throat as a distinguishing symptom of Omicron. At a December news briefing, Ryan Noach, CEO of Discovery Health, South Africa’s largest personal health insurer, mentioned Omicron sufferers generally report a scratchy throat first, adopted by nasal congestion, dry cough, and body aches.

Moreno, in contrast, mentioned sore throat often “comes hand in hand with sinus congestion and headache.”

Data from the Zoe COVID Symptom Study, which makes use of a smartphone app to log how a whole lot of 1000’s of persons are feeling daily throughout the UK, means that sore throats are a widespread, early symptom of Omicron. In a video on December 22, the examine’s principal investigator, Tim Spector, mentioned round 57% of folks with Omicron reported sore throats.

An analysis of an Omicron outbreak at a Christmas celebration in Norway discovered that 72% of contaminated folks developed a sore throat, which lasted about three days, on common. Most of the contaminated folks have been vaccinated with two doses of an mRNA vaccine.

Moreno mentioned most sufferers at his clinic are vaccinated, which explains why their symptoms are typically milder and comparatively short-lived.

“You see this gradient and you can tell how they’re doing based on what their vaccination status is,” Moreno mentioned. For individuals who’ve been boosted, “it’s almost like an old cold — the sinus symptoms, the sore throat,” he mentioned. “A couple days later, they’re ready to go back to exercising or doing their regular activity.”

Omicron may infect the throat earlier than the nostril

A woman uses a throat swab to test for COVID-19

A girl makes use of a swab to take a pattern from her mouth at an NHS Test and Trace Covid-19 testing unit at the Civic Centre in Uxbridge, Hillingdon, west London, on May 25 202.1ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Though sore throats have been widespread amongst vaccinated folks with Delta infections, the symptom seems much more prevalent with Omicron.

“One of the things we know with Omicron is that it seems to have a different set of symptoms as opposed to other variants,” Dr. Andy Pekosz, a virologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, instructed Insider.

“Most notably, loss of smell was something that many people used to report with COVID-19 symptom onset,” he mentioned. “With Omicron, that doesn’t seem to be reported much at all. Conversely, [there’s] much more talk about coughs and scratchy throats with Omicron.”

The variant’s distinctive symptoms “may reflect perhaps a change in where this virus is infecting in your respiratory tract or how well it’s infecting certain cells in your respiratory tract,” Pekosz added.

Some illness specialists have advised that Omicron might infect the throat earlier than it infects the nostril, whereas different variants preferred to set up camp in the nasal passage first.

“When you hear the same anecdotes from people that say a lot of them have a scratchy throat, it is probably because that’s where the highest concentration of the virus is at that point,” Irene Petersen, an epidemiology professor at University College London, instructed Insider.

A small study launched Wednesday by a crew of US researchers discovered that the viral load from an Omicron an infection peaked in saliva one to 2 days earlier than it peaked in nasal swabs, which can clarify why adding a throat swab to a rapid test might enhance its accuracy.

Hilary Brueck contributed reporting.

Read the authentic article on Business Insider

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