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Key Symptoms of an Omicron Infection

Watch for these and get tested if you need to.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The coronavirus surge racing through America is peaking in some areas but rising in still others. "With Omicron, we see it infect unvaccinated populations very, very easily, but we see it infecting vaccinated individuals as well," said Dr. Natalie Azar to LXTV. "We still have a significant number of older individuals, 65 and older, who haven't been vaccinated at all, about 15% of those. Regionally, we're gonna see the virus spread wherever it can find a host and it's gonna get the biggest block from infection in areas with the highest vaccination rates." What symptoms should you watch for? "Symptoms related to the Omicron variant may be slightly different than Delta," says Dr. Isaac Bogoch, Infectious Diseases physician and scientist. Read on for the ones doctors are seeing most—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


A Sore Throat (Pharyngitis) is More Common

Woman touching her throat.

"Especially in people who we're seeing these more mild breakthrough infections, we are definitely seeing sore throat be a predictor in that group," says Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.


Loss of Smell (Anosmia) is Less Common

Sick woman trying to sense smell of half fresh orange, has symptoms of Covid-19, corona virus infection - loss of smell and taste

A key symptom of COVID originally, losing your sense of smell may be less common with Omicron. Early reports from South Africa show "that—many of whom were young—have had severe fatigue, but no loss of taste or smell," says Lauren Ferrante, MD, a Yale Medicine pulmonologist. "Interestingly, we've seen loss of smell and taste become much less common. It was in the top 10 symptoms earlier in 2021, and now it's ranking at 17, with only 1 in 5 people experiencing it," says the Zoe Symptom Report.


Fever and Fatigue

Woman Checking Her Temperature in Bed

A temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher is considered a fever. Patients also describe a fatigue that sets in. For some folks, this fatigue may never go away, if they develop Long COVID.


Runny Nose and Cough

RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get

"While symptoms like cough, fever and loss of smell are common in those who test positive for COVID-19, we found that having a runny nose and sneezing was only very slightly more common in people who tested positive for COVID-19 than those who tested negative," says the Zoe Symptom Report.



Door handle open to toilet can see toilet

"Many people with COVID-19 experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, sometimes prior to developing fever and lower respiratory tract signs and symptoms," reports the CDC. 


Don't Be Tricked Into Thinking Omicron is "Mild"

Doctor nurse in protective face mask listening to breath with a stethoscope suspecting Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Omicron was originally described by some as "mild." "It's important to define what we mean by 'mild illness,'" said Dr. Natalie Azar on LXTV.  "When we say mild illness as physicians, we mean you don't need supplemental oxygen. You don't need to be hospitalized, but people could feel really, really lousy with COVID, with Omicron. You miss work, you miss school. And one of the biggest things of course, is that you risk spreading it to somebody who is more vulnerable than you and someone who could end up doing really poorly or even dying from it."


Do Not Try to Get COVID On Purpose to Get Immunity

woman in a medical mask on her face during the pandemic outdoors

"Even though we can fortunately say that Omicron does appear to cause less severe disease in most people, it's not everyone," said Dr. Azar. "And we do know with COVID that it can be a tricky bug, even though it can cause cold or even mild flu-like symptoms in a lot of people, it can break through, even in someone who's otherwise healthy, and it can kill you. The cold does not kill people. COVID-19 does. And so I really wouldn't want to play Russian Roulette with a virus that has this tricky way about it. That you can suddenly get very sick from it, even though you're not supposed to." So get vaccinated and boosted, 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.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek