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Omicron Symptoms "Most Often" Feel Like This

Doctors reveal what it's like to have Omicron.

We're a few weeks into the COVID surge and Omicron isn't done with us just yet. Cases are still spiking in many areas of the country and millions of people are experiencing flu-like symptoms—or something far worse. Whether you've been exposed to someone with Omicron or you're not feeling well, experts reveal what it feels like to have the virus and what symptoms to watch out for. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with doctors who explained what you need to know about Omicron. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


How People with Omicron Feel

Woman being sick having flu sitting on bed alone at home, having high fever or temperature, touching forehead

Dr. Eva Beaulieu, board-certified internal medicine hospitalist says, "Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: a fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, body aches, shortness of breath, headache, vomiting and/or diarrhea, change or loss of taste and small, and fatigue."

Dr. Yasmin Akhunji, a board-certified endocrinologist with Paloma Health adds,  The most common signs and symptoms of Omicron are cough, fatigue, congestion, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches. Sore throat has been identified as a distinguishing symptom with this variant. This symptom may cause a sharp pain when you swallow and appear before most of the other COVID symptoms that we've classically heard of in the past."

Of course, you may experience more severe symptoms, particularly if you are unvaccinated. "People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19," says the CDC:
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea


What People with Omicron Complain About the Most

Patients lying on hospital bed with mask, looking at lung x-ray film during doctor reading result and advice a treatment

Dr. Akhunji explains, "I've now seen many patients in the clinic a year after they originally contacted COVID-19. The lung impact and neurological impact it has as a remnant effect is terrible. With this new variant, while it is short-lived in comparison, it is highly contagious. Brain fog is no joking matter, and while people feel like the symptoms are short-lived, we are finding that some have long-term neurologic deficits. Why risk it? Keep yourself and your loved ones safe."

Dr. Beaulieu states, "Most people will complain of a runny nose, headache, sore throat, sneezing and fatigue."

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Who is at Risk for Getting Omicron

Mature woman with cancer in pink headscarf smiling sitting on couch at home

According to Dr. Beaulieu, "While everyone should be taking preventative measures to protect themselves and others like wearing a mask, social distancing, getting vaccinated, washing your hands and cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces, some groups of people are at an increased risk for severe illness if they were to be infected. This includes older adults, people with medical conditions and pregnant people."

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What We Don't Know About Omicron, But Should

Biotechnology scientist in ppe suit researching DNA in laboratory using microscope. team examining virus evolution using high tech for scientific research of vaccine development against covid19

"We are still learning about how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta, how likely Omicron infections can lead to severe outcomes and how likely breakthrough infections in those who are fully vaccinated can occur," Dr. Beaulieu says.  "All the more reason to continue to use the arsenal of tools we have available to us like masks, vaccines and social distancing while we learn more!"

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How to Help Avoid Getting Omicron

exercise lunges

Dr. Sean Zager, a board-certified family physician with Paloma Health explains, "With almost every health challenge that a patient asks me about, I always start with the four pillars of health: sleep, stress management, exercise, and nutrition. Those are just basic bedrock ways of helping to support our immune systems, so if we come in contact with a variant of COVID, we may not contract it or be as susceptible to becoming sick by it. Beyond that, I would think about other natural remedies for care. Vitamin D supplementation is good for immune health, especially for patients with autoimmune challenges. Zinc and vitamin C are good. For immune health, I'm also a big fan of herbs like echinacea, elderberry, and astragalus."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Doctor had just vaccinated a young female patient in the hospital.

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, 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.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather