January 02, 2022

How Symptoms of Omicron Variant Differ From Prior COVID-19 Versions

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As we turn the page to 2022, we’re dealing with yet another surge of COVID-19—this time in the form of the omicron variant.

While tests are hard to come by, it’s important to note that some of the symptoms of the omicron variant differ from 2021’s delta and the original form of the virus in 2020.

Center’s Healthcare has a look at common symptoms and different ones regarding omicron, especially if you’re vaccinated.

More Cold-Like Symptoms

Experts believe that the omicron variant settles more in the throat than other forms of COVID, which settled in the chest and lungs. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most reports of common symptoms are cough, fatigue, congestion, and a runny nose.

Loss of taste of smell—hallmark symptoms of COVID in the past—do not appear to be associated with the omicron variant.

Mild Symptoms for Breakthrough Cases

A breakthrough case is defined as a vaccinated person testing positive and showing symptoms. The most reported symptoms for fully vaccinated/boosted individuals are a sore throat, some fatigue, and muscle pain. Most reports are that it’s a little uncomfortable, but no worse than a cold or mild flu.

Encouragingly, at least in breakthrough cases, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath has rarely been reported.

The Most Common Advice: Get Boosted

Symptoms in those who have received the two-shot series of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines but had not yet been boosted had similar reports to the breakthrough cases listed above, but the severity has been a little more intense—more fatigue, more coughing, and a fever, but still, not much shortness of breath reported.

Among Johnson & Johnson vaccinated positive cases, there has been some shortness of breath but hospitalization generally not required.

For unvaccinated individuals, breathing issues still persist and have required hospitalization.

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