Omicron variant: Doctor warns of risk of reinfection
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There’s still much unknown about the new coronavirus variant named after a Greek letter. However, there seem to be two symptoms affecting the Omicron patients, according to a Dr Angelique Coetzee. She warned about “intense” fatigue and a high heart rate. Tiredness is also closely intertwined with the Christmas season, especially after knocking back a few drinks at a party. Covid ICU anaesthetist Dr Ed Patrick shares how to differentiate between Omicron fatigue and common hangover.
Covid ICU anaesthetist Dr Ed Patrick explains how to tell apart Omicron fatigue from a hangover.
Dr Patrick said: “Generally speaking, you can differentiate hangover-induced fatigue from Covid by checking if you have any additional symptoms.
“If your fatigue is paired with a high temperature, a cough, muscle or body aches, or shortness of breath, you should isolate and take a PCR test as soon as possible.
“However, if the patient in question is saying things like, ‘I’m never drinking again, I can’t believe you bought tequila shots’, then a hangover is most likely.”
Omicron shows “unusual” symptoms compared to the other Covid variants, according to the South African doctor Angelique Coetzee who first spotted the variant.
Dr Coetzee, who treated patients with Omicron, explained she noticed two main symptoms in the patients infected with Omicron.
Those included “intense” fatigue and a high heart rate.
There are many different reasons which could be behind tiredness, but with the party season here, a hangover can be prevalent.
As with other overlapping symptoms of Covid, listening to your body and checking for any other symptoms that could be signalling Omicron is key.
Apart from the usual Covid symptoms Dr Patrick listed, it might be worth looking out for extra signs reported by Dr Coetzee specifically for Omicron.
The South African doctor explained that Omicron doesn’t seem to cause the usual loss of taste and smell, or breathing problems linked to other coronavirus variants, such as Delta.
Dr Coetzee noticed fatigue, a high heart rate and a “scratchy throat” in her patients.
The patient who experienced the throat difficulties described these as “not really a sore throat but a scratchy throat”.
The bottom line when it comes to the Omicron variant and hangover fatigue is to self-isolate and see if it improves, Dr Patrick notes.
He added: “My best doctor’s advice is to self-isolate with fluids, snacks, a movie and a duvet on the sofa and see if that cures it.”
How can I protect myself from Omicron during the festive season?
The Covid ICU anaesthetist emphasises frequent lateral flow tests before spending time with others this Christmas.
“You want to be as sure as you can that you won’t spread more than festive spirits at the Christmas party,” Dr Patrick said.
Shaun Doak, CEO of REACT specialist cleaning, shares “the number one rule” to be a personal hygiene. This means keeping up the 20 second rule for hand-washing.
Doak added: “Arranging Christmas dinner furniture so that members from different households are not sitting close together will help curb transmission.
“Additionally, positioning people from the same household opposite each other will ensure respiratory droplets or aerosols will only infect those they usually live with.
“Christmas is a time for fun, but by switching out board games for quizzes will safeguard members of different households from touching the same playing pieces,” Doak concluded.
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