Lifestyle

I’m a virologist and here’s how to tell the difference between a cold and Omicron

OMICRON cases are on the rise in the UK and experts have said the symptoms are likely to differ from the traditional three Covid symptoms.

Along with the fear of catching Covid, most people are likely to catch a cold during the winter months.

The error is common during the winter months and with the circulation of Omicron, it is important that you can tell the difference

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The error is common during the winter months and with the circulation of Omicron, it is important that you can tell the differenceCredit: Getty – Contributor

The three symptoms outlined by the NHS include a new persistent cough, high temperature and loss of taste and smell.

But experts say the symptoms are like a cold and Doctors have urged the NHS to update the list so people know when to isolate and get tested.

Bed bugs and infections are everywhere and it’s important that you can distinguish between a cold and Covid.

But with data showing that almost a quarter of people with colds actually have Covid – how can you do that?

Speaking to The Sun, virologist and Professor of Molecular Oncology, Professor Lawrence Young said Britons should use lateral flow tests in our favor and ‘flow before we go’.

That means getting a test done before we meet other people, he explains – especially if we have cold symptoms.

“There seems to be some overlap with cold symptoms, and there is an estimate from data from the ZOE that a quarter of people with colds actually have Covid,” he said.

“They overlap, but it seems that the onset of a cold will be a bit more gradual. But with Omicron, people will quickly get headaches and fatigue if Covid is present.

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“While a cold develops in a few days.

“It’s hard to tell but we’ve got lateral flow tests and we should ‘flow before we go’.

“If you have any doubts then do lateral flow checks because we can do them in real time.

“And for parents with their children too, if your child has a cold then get a lateral flow test.”

His comments are similar to those of Professor Tim Spector of King’s College London, head of the ZOE Symptom Tracking App.

Prof Spector said today that people who log their symptoms through the ZOE app have cold-like symptoms, rather than the classic Covid triad of symptoms outlined by the NHS.

“So it’s slowly transitioning to a condition with milder symptoms, like a severe cold for many people.

“People need to know about it. Don’t wait for high temperatures,” he said.

However, he explained that the symptoms of Covid are not really that different from what people have experienced with the Delta variant.

Prof Spector says many people don’t realize that this variant has turned into a more ‘cold-like’ illness.

“We already know that Delta symptoms are milder than previous variants and it doesn’t last as long.

“We don’t have the exact data on Omicron yet. So far, we’ve seen a fairly short period of time, the illness is quite mild, almost everyone is cured after 5 days, but a lot of people are on the younger side and we didn’t” There are many seriously ill people who end up in the hospital.

“So far the infections appear to be mild and they will include headaches, fatigue, sneezing.”

Even so – clinical observations come from South Africa – where the variant is widespread, suggesting that there are five distinctive symptoms that people should be aware of.

These are sore throat, mild muscle aches, extreme fatigue, dry cough, and night sweats.

Data from South Africa also show low back pain as another symptom.

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It is important that if you think you have Covid that you get tested and isolated to stop the spread of the virus.

These new symptoms could mean more people are getting an infection because an itchy throat can be part of a cold, and many people may mistake back pain for a common sore.

Medical experts in the UK have said that the best way to protect yourself from Omicron is to get a booster vaccine.

The Sun’s Jabs Army is calling for volunteers to come forward to help Give Britain a Booster.

Just last week, a study revealed that a boost shot can keep us out of lockdown.

Experts say any two doses plus the booster Pfizer can provide up to 75% protection.

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Boris Johnson urges everyone to get a booster shot and beware of Omicron

https://www.the-sun.com/health/4284146/virologist-difference-cold-omicron/ I’m a virologist and here’s how to tell the difference between a cold and Omicron

PaulLeBlanc

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