Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. Fever.
If you are experiencing any of these, you might ask yourself, “Are these flu symptoms or Omicron symptoms?”
Our answer is that it could be either.
And now you’re wondering, “If this is Omicron, is it more or less dangerous than the prior COVID-19 variants? Should I be more concerned?”
In this article, we are going to answer these questions.
What Do We Know About Omicron?
Since the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 in 2020, multiple COVID-19 variants have emerged. Variants are the results of mutations occurring naturally in viruses. Since viruses constantly mutate, new variants arise continuously. Some disappear, while others persist.
Compared to the earlier COVID-19 variants, Omicron continues to persist and is the dominant variant in the U.S. and even globally, according to the World Health Organization.
But how does it differ from the other variants? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Omicron is said to spread more easily. Those infected can spread the virus more quickly to others, regardless of vaccination status or even though they show no symptoms of Omicron.
So, should you worry more about this variant?
Omicron generally causes less severe disease than the prior variants, as preliminary data from the CDC suggests. However, some people may still experience severe illness, may need hospitalization, and could die from the infection. This is why taking the necessary steps to protect ourselves and others is still important.
If you are from Lincoln, CA, or Granite Bay, CA, and experiencing possible Omicron symptoms, our urgent care centers offer COVID-19 testing.
Signs and Symptoms of Omicron
The signs and symptoms of Omicron are similar to those of COVID-19, which are:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
These symptoms may appear between 2-14 days after exposure to someone infected. People infected with Omicron may experience a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. The severity depends on your vaccination status, age, history of prior infection, and the presence of other health issues. You are also likely to show symptoms of Omicron even if you have previously tested positive in the past.
What Should I Do If I Have the Symptoms of Omicron?
If you start to feel any symptoms of Omicron, isolate immediately and get tested. PCR testing in our urgent care centers can give results between 2-3 days. While waiting for your results, stay home and wear a well-fitted mask around others. You can also order free at-home test kits from covid.gov/tests, but you will have to wait 7-14 days for the test kits to arrive.
Don’t want to wait that long?
If you’re from Lincoln, CA, or Granite Bay, CA, you can visit our urgent care centers or book a COVID-19 Omicron testing. Our Rapid COVID-19 Antigen or PCR Test can give you results in as little as 30 minutes.
What Should I Do if I Tested Positive?
If you test positive, whether or not you show symptoms of Omicron, you must stay home for five days (vaccinated or not). You should also isolate yourself from others inside your home. If this is not possible, wear a well-fitted mask.
Symptoms of Omicron usually last a couple of weeks. But those who have long COVID-19 symptoms may experience health problems for four or more weeks after being infected, according to CDC.
For those with mild symptoms, our doctors recommend the following home treatments:
- Use medications for fever and pains such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen;
- Take a cough syrup and decongestant medicine to ease coughing or nasal congestion;
- Drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and rest well.
According to CDC, you may end your isolation after five full days if:
- you no longer have a fever for 24 hours (without taking fever-reducing medicine);
- and your symptoms are improving.
If you did not have Omicron symptoms but tested positive, you may end isolation after five full days from the day of your test.
After your isolation, CDC recommends that you take the following precaution for another five days:
- Wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others inside your home or in public.
- Do not travel for the full 10 days after your symptoms or the date you tested positive if you had no symptoms.
- Avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, such as elderlies or those with serious health problems.
What if My Symptoms Worsen?
While Omicron is said to be less likely to cause severe diseases such as pneumonia, some infected people may still be hospitalized or die from the infection. Call or visit our clinic immediately if you or your loved ones are experiencing severe symptoms of Omicron.
Our urgent care centers at Lincoln, CA, and Granite Bay, CA, provide various on-site medical services for acute illness and minor respiratory distress.
If this is your case and you get very sick from COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system, the CDC advises you to isolate yourself for at least 10 days. Make sure to consult your doctor before ending isolation.
How Can I Protect Myself From Omicron?
Preliminary evidence suggests that vaccines are less effective against the spread of Omicron. But vaccines still protect well against serious illnesses such as hospitalization.
For those fully vaccinated, symptoms of Omicron tend to be mild. On the other hand, unvaccinated people may experience quite severe symptoms.
It’s also essential to keep our immune system in check. Our urgent care centers at Lincoln, CA, and Granite Bay, CA, offer routine medical care services to ensure that you and your loved ones are in your best shape.