Omicron Symptoms: Is That Runny Nose Covid
Cook Children’s reports spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations among kids due to omicron
New data from Cook Children’s Medical Center shows the number of children hospitalized for COVID-19 more than tripled in just one week.
FORT WORTH, Texas – With students returning to the classroom and the number of COVID-19 cases soaring, many parents are certain to face a dilemma. Should your child stay home because of a runny nose?
Cook Childrens Medical Center in Fort Worth said it has seen the number of pediatric COVID-19 cases skyrocket over the past week with about 31% of all tests or 600 per day coming back positive.
Thats the highest its been since the pandemic began, higher than even the surge caused by the delta variant this past September.
Doctors attribute it to the omicron variant being much more transmissible than other variants. And even though the omicron variant is the dominant variant in North Texas right now, the delta variant is still circulating.
So, what should you do when your child comes home from school with symptoms like a sore throat, runny nose or a cough? How can you tell the difference between COVID-19, a common cold and the flu?
According to Cook Childrens, the most common symptoms of the omicron variant seem to be a sore throat, cough, congestion, runny nose and fatigue.
Coronavirus expert puts omicron variant into perspective
When Should I Be Concerned
Tearing of the eyes, swelling, etc. are perennial allergies due to allergens like animals, dust, or mold, says Mili Shum, MD, allergist and immunologist at U of U Health. Your symptoms will be the same as last year.
Cough, post-nasal drip, or a history of asthma are known triggers for allergic reactions. For people who are aware of their allergies, the symptoms should not be out of proportion from reactions in the past. If the cough feels different to you, or if you have a fever, this is most likely not an allergic reaction but something else.
Its still early in the COVID-19 phase, Shum says. People are still attributing their symptoms to their allergies.
If your cough gets worse to the point you have difficulty breathing, call your health care provider and seek immediate medical attention.
The First Confirmed Case With Omicron
The first confirmed COVID-19 case with the Omicron variant identified as B.1.1.529 dates to .
Meanwhile, South African scientists detected a small number of the variant in samples collected between Nov. 14-16, prompting them to report their findings to the World Health Organization on Nov. 24.
On , the WHO declared Omicron a SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern.
As of Nov. 29, 15 countries have reported cases with the Omicron variant, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, and Hong Kong.
According to media reports, there are now about 100 confirmed cases with the Omicron variant in South Africa.
Omicron may be responsible for close to 90 percent of new COVID-19 cases in Gauteng province, which includes Pretoria and Johannesburg. The rate suggests that Omicron may have overtaken Delta in that area.
The data still are early and sparse, but in and around Johannesburg, South Africa, Omicron is out-competing Delta. This is one of the reasons that the WHO has designated Omicron a variant of concern , rather than just a variant of interest , said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
COVID-19 infections rose sharply in South Africa over the past 7 days to reach 2,465 daily cases last week, recording a more than 90 percent increase from Nov. 24 to Nov. 25. However, not all have been confirmed to be infections with the Omicron variant.
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What We Know Of Omicron
It would be a big mistake to underestimate the risks posed by the omicron variant, despite some evidence that it causes milder symptoms more akin to a cold than flu.
Experts have judged omicron as being far more transmissible than the delta variant and believe it will soon become the dominant strain internationally. Omicron’s rise to prominence is remarkable given the fact it was only designated as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization on Nov. 26, two days after South Africa reported that it had detected it.
Early, small studies showed that while it was more virulent than the delta variant, it might cause less severe infections but that remains to be seen at a wider, real-world level with an infected person’s age , general state of health and vaccination status being factors in how an illness is experienced.
Vaccine makers have said that the variant undermines the efficacy of a full course of Covid vaccination but that a booster shot helps to restore much of the shots’ protection against severe infection, hospitalization and death.
When To Seek Emergency Care
If you or someone else is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
This list is not exhaustive. If you are concerned, seek medical care right away.
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Diagnosed With Covid Here’s What To Do Next
Indeed, at least one person who was not vaccinated is reported to have died of omicron. Officials in Houston announced Monday that the unvaccinated man in his 50s succumbed to the virus.
There is also emerging evidence that omicron tends not to burrow deep into the lungs as much as previous variants. A study, which was posted online by the University of Hong Kong and not yet peer-reviewed, found that while omicron is less severe in the lungs, it can replicate faster higher up in the respiratory tract.
In this way, omicron may act more like bronchitis than pneumonia, said Dr. Hugh Cassiere, director of critical care services for Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at the North Shore University Hospital, on Long Island, New York.
“Usually patients with acute bronchitis tend not to be short of breath. They tend to cough and produce sputum,” he said. “Patients with pneumonia tend to be short of breath and feel more fatigued than bronchitis in general.”
Still, it’s virtually impossible for people to rely on symptoms to self-diagnose an illness. In addition to omicron, the delta variant continues to circulate, along with increasing cases of the flu.
For these reasons, doctors urge people who have any cold symptoms or flulike symptoms to get tested.
Allergy Symptoms Vs Covid
Throughout the US, pollen has started to bloom and cause typical symptoms in those with allergies right as we have seen the spread of the coronavirus . Allergies typically cause nasal symptoms such as a runny nose and sinus congestion but do not usually result in a fever, as is found with coronavirus or the flu. While some symptoms of the coronavirus overlap with allergies, there are several differences.
Its important to note that this article is not intended to provide comprehensive medical advice. If you have concerns, please always contact your doctor and use general best practices.
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How Can I Help My Child Feel Better
Home care can help your child feel better while battling strep throat. Give plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration, such as water or ginger ale, especially if he or she has had a fever. Avoid orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemonade, or other acidic beverages, which can irritate a sore throat. Warm liquids like soups, sweetened tea, or hot chocolate can be soothing.
Talk to your doctor about when your child can return to normal activities. Most kids can go back to school when they’ve taken antibiotics for at least 24 hours and no longer have a fever.
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While allergies, colds and coronavirus overlap in some symptoms – like the potential for a cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties, fatigue, headaches, a sore throat and congestion – those more associated with coronavirus include fever, muscle and body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.
Seasonal allergies can sometimes bring with them a cough and runny nose – both of which can be associated with some coronavirus cases, or even the common cold – but they also bring itchy or watery eyes and sneezing, symptoms that are less common in coronavirus patients.
Pollen exposure can also trigger allergic reactions, such as symptoms of hay fever.
“Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, occurs when allergens like pollen enter your body and your immune system mistakenly identifies them as a threat,” the CDC states. “If you have allergic rhinitis, your body then responds to the allergen by releasing chemicals that can cause symptoms in the nose.”
Such symptoms – which include sneezing, runny nose and congestion – affect as many as 60 million people per year in the United States, the CDC reports.
Pollen exposure can also trigger symptoms of what’s known as allergic conjunctivitis, or the “inflammation of the lining of the eye due to exposure to allergens like those in pollen.”
Coronavirus and the common cold also share many symptoms.
Some residents who contracted breakthrough infections have said they experienced minor symptoms.
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Delta Is Spreading Here’s What You Can Do
Evidence indicating Delta is more infectious compared to the original SARS-CoV-2 and other variants of the virus are building. It’s important to understand the environment is also changing. People have become more complacent with social distancing, seasons change, vaccination rates vary all these factors affect the data. But scientists are becoming more confident the Delta variant represents a more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 strain.
Can Pneumonia Be Prevented
The flu vaccine is recommended for all kids ages 6 months through 19 years. Its extra important for kids who have a chronic illness such as a heart or lung disorder or asthma.
When possible, keep kids away from anyone with symptoms of a respiratory infection.
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How Is Strep Throat Treated
Doctors usually prescribe about 10 days of antibiotic medicine to treat strep throat. Within about 24 hours after starting on antibiotics, your child probably won’t have a fever and won’t be contagious. By the second or third day, other symptoms should start to go away.
Even when kids feel better, they should take the antibiotics as prescribed. This is the best way to kill the harmful bacteria. Otherwise, bacteria can remain in the throat and symptoms can return. Completing all the antibiotics also prevents other health problems that a strep infection can cause, such as rheumatic fever , scarlet fever, blood infections, or kidney disease.
To prevent spreading strep throat to others in your home:
- Keep your child’s eating utensils, dishes, and drinking glasses separate and wash them in hot, soapy water after each use.
- Make sure your child doesn’t share food, drinks, napkins, handkerchiefs, or towels with other family members.
- Teach your child to cover all sneezes or coughs. If a tissue isn’t handy, kids should sneeze or cough into a shirtsleeve, not their hands.
- Remind everyone to wash their hands well and often.
- Give your child a new toothbrush after the antibiotic treatment starts and he or she is no longer contagious.
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Given that the symptoms associated with the original strain of Covid-19 and its first variants were so similar to the common cold, it has been difficult to tell over the last year or so whether the onset of headaches and sniffles meant you had contracted the coronavirus or just a bout of conventional winter flu.
The subsequent emergence of the Omicron variant has complicated the pictured even further.
The symptoms of the new variant are slightly different stuffy nose, sore throat and it cannot yet be specifically identified by home test kits, which simply tell us whether someone is Covid-positive or negative, not which strain they have contracted.
Professor Tim Spector, from Britains ZOE Covid app, said it is now more important than ever to get tested even without symptoms as we seek to bring the new variant to heel.
While the UK saw a huge spike in Omicron cases over New Year, the infection rate has since fallen and plateaued around the 60,000-per-day mark without translating into the wave of mass hospitalisations feared before Christmas.
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Could Omicron Lead To Long Covid
Though much remains unknown about omicron, experts say the variant could lead to long Covid, even with a mild case.
Patients with long-term symptoms can experience crushing fatigue, irregular heart rhythms and other issues months after their initial Covid infection. This occurred during the first wave of the pandemic, and has continued to lead to long Covid issues through the delta wave.
“We should assume that this variant can do the same thing that previous variants have until proven otherwise,” Lee, of CUNY, said.
Should A Person Get A Test If They Have A Runny Nose
Recent data from the United Kingdom Zoe COVID Symptom study suggest that delta variant infections manifest with a headache, followed by a sore throat, a runny nose, and a fever. For this reason, anyone with a runny nose should consider getting a COVID-19 test.
For people living in the U.K., tests are not yet available for those with just a runny nose. However, individuals can take a lateral flow test at home.
Additionally, if a person is concerned about or unsure of the cause of their runny nose, they could contact a doctor or book a COVID-19 test.
However, it is also important to remember that allergies such as hay fever are common during the summer months. If a person usually experiences hay fever, their runny nose may be due to that rather than COVID-19.
The CDC has an advice page on how a person can get a COVID-19 test. It recommends that a person contacts a healthcare professional or visits their health departmentâs website to get information on local testing.
If a healthcare professional is unable to perform the test, a person may receive an at-home test kit.
- a loss of the sense of smell or taste
- shortness of breath
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What Are The Covid Symptoms I Should Act On
The NHS says people should still look out for classic Covid symptoms:
- a new, continuous cough
- a fever/high temperature
- loss of or change to smell or taste
But for some people, having Covid can feel “more like a bad cold” with symptoms such as a headache, sore throat and a runny nose.
The Zoe Covid study app asks hundreds of thousands of people to log their symptoms and investigators have looked at those linked to the dominant Delta variant and the new highly spreadable variant Omicron.
So far, the top five symptoms are:
- runny nose
- sore throat
If you think you may have Covid, it is important to get tested. Even people who don’t feel very ill can put others at risk.
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How Long Is Omicron’s Incubation Period
According to early data, the time it takes for an infected person to develop symptoms after an exposure may be shorter for omicron than for previous variants from a full week down to as little as three days or fewer.
While much more research is needed, it makes scientific sense that a highly contagious virus like the omicron variant would have a shorter incubation period. Its goal, after all, is to infect as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
“That’s why the spread is occurring at a much faster pace,” said Dr. Anita Gupta, an anesthesiologist and critical care physician at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She added that it’s possible the incubation period could be shorter or longer depending on a number of variables, including age, underlying health problems and vaccination status. “There is no hard and fast rule here.”
What About A Cough
If you have a cold or flu you may well have a cough, along with other symptoms.
Flu usually comes on suddenly and sufferers will often experience muscle aches, chills, headaches, tiredness, a sore throat and a runny or stuffed nose, along with the cough. It feels worse than a heavy cold.
Colds tend to develop more gradually and are less severe, although they do still make you feel unwell. Along with a cough, there may be sneezing and a sore throat and runny nose. Fever, chills, muscle aches and headaches are rare.
A coronavirus cough means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing fits or “episodes” in 24 hours.
If you usually have a cough because of a long-standing medical condition like COPD, it may be worse than usual.
You should get tested for coronavirus if you develop a new, continuous cough.
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