Covid infection is a kind of infection caused by a virus. The common cold is not covid. It can be difficult to distinguish between a normal cold and Covid-19 based on symptoms alone, especially when the latter is caused by the Omicron type. Anyway, before we go into the Omicron vs Cold vs Flu symptoms, let’s look at why you can’t just ignore Omicron as a common cold, according to experts.
In a recent tweet, maria van kerkhove, the global health organization’s technical head on covid-19, emphasized the significance of the variation. Her viewpoints are gaining traction among covid management doctors and actual patients. “It isn’t as benign as people portray it.” I’ve had a high temperature for three days, and despite taking medicine, it won’t go away.
“I, too, am feeling quite weak,” said Ranjana Sharma, a resident of Mayur Vihar.
Omicron may have a lower death rate than Delta, but it is still bringing patients to hospitals, according to Dr. Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant pulmonologist at Apollo Hospitals. “I’m having for three patients who require oxygen.
“They’re all vaccinated,” he said, warning against complacency and misunderstanding regarding Covid-appropriate conduct.
The Omicron variety primarily causes infection in the upper respiratory tract, but physicians say there have been reports of lung injury, particularly among the elderly and those with co-morbidities including diabetes and hypertension.
“People should take Covid-19 very seriously. The new variation that is causing the present outbreak of diseases may be milder than the prior version, but its transmissibility rate is unquestionably high. The hospitals would be swamped if too many individuals become sick at the same time, according to Dr. Neeraj Nischal, AIIMS’s additional professor of internal medicine.
Nischal emphasized that governments are working hard to improve health infrastructure to meet the rising hospitalization demand. “However, if there are too many cases, such preparations may be ineffective. People must take action to prevent the spread of the sickness and so save lives,” he urged.
Let’s look at how to tell the difference between Omicron vs Cold vs Flu symptoms.
How to differentiate between Common cold and Covid?
Prof Eskild Petersen of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark says it’s hard to tell the difference between typical cold and Covid (Omicron).
Dr. Andrew Freedman, an infectious diseases expert at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, agrees. “A lot of patients, especially those who have been vaccinated, are experiencing what would usually be considered the common cold,” he added.
The symptoms of a common cold are relatively minor when compared to those of the new coronavirus and the flu, and may include:
- a stuffy or runny nose
- a sore throat
“The common cold isn’t as dangerous,” Dr. Shukhman explains, “but because any built-up immunity wanes over a year, you can have the same common cold numerous times.” While your immune system fights the infection, symptoms usually last 7 to 10 days.
Is it possible to distinguish flu from Covid-19?
While it can be difficult to tell the difference between typical cold and a mild case of Covid-19 based on symptoms alone, infectious disease specialists say flu is more likely to generate unusual symptoms.
Dr. Freedman explained, “Flu may be a more serious disease with aches and pains.”
According to Prof Petersen, influenza can produce muscular soreness and back pain, symptoms that aren’t usually connected with Covid-19, especially when it’s caused by the Omicron type.
“If you have influenza, you will have a fever, aches, and overall muscular soreness,” he noted, noting that a loss of smell, which is often noticed with Covid-19, is not characteristic of flu. Flu symptoms, according to the NHS, might include a sudden increase in body temperature (38°C or higher), feeling fatigued or drained, a dry cough, a sore throat, and a headache, among others. The flu normally causes symptoms 4 days after infection and goes away in 2 weeks for the majority of people.
Symptoms of Covid (Omicron)
- sore throat,
- headache and
- aches and pains are common symptoms of Covid caused by the Omicron type.
Diarrhea and runny noses are extremely uncommon. According to reports, unlike the last wave produced by the Delta variation, this time there is no loss of smell or taste in the majority of patients. Symptoms might emerge 2 to 14 days after infection. COVID-19’s effects might last anywhere from a few days to several months.
Warning signs of covid getting worse
- Breathing difficulties,
- a drop in oxygen saturation (SpO2<94% on room air),
- persistent pain/pressure in the chest, and
- symptoms continuing or increasing for more than four days are all warning signs of covid getting worse.
What should people do if they think they could have Covid-19 symptoms?
Experts advise persons with probable Covid-19 symptoms to self-isolate and get tested, preferably with a PCR test because they are more reliable. Rules differ by country, but as a general rule, anyone with possible Covid-19 symptoms should self-isolate and be tested.
People infected with the coronavirus can transmit the illness even if they have minimal or no symptoms, according to health organizations such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Vaccination is still commonly recommended as a strategy to reduce the risk of hospitalization, serious illness, and death, however, persons with Covid-19 symptoms should wait until they recover before getting vaccinated, according to the NHS.
It is recommended that patients wait 28 days following a positive test or the onset of symptoms before becoming vaccinated.
Treatment for omicron variant
Treatment is primarily symptomatic, according to Nischal.
- “Paracetamol, for example, can be administered to someone who has a chronic fever.”
- Cetirizine can be used to treat a cold.
- “Steroids are not recommended for patients in home isolation,” he stated.
Many medications have been repurposed to treat Covid in the two years since the epidemic began, and some novel treatments have also emerged. Nischal, on the other hand, pointed out that there was very minimal proof that these were effective. “In recent years, two major medicines have received a lot of attention:
- Monoclonal antibodies and
- Molnupiravir, an antiviral medication.
Monoclonal antibodies are ineffective against the Omicron variant in India. Although Molnupiravir has been shown to minimize hospitalization in a small percentage of patients, it is also known to have certain side effects.
It is not recommended for pregnant women or children under the age of 5, according to the AIIMS specialist. Molnupiravir should only be used when alternative treatment choices are unavailable, according to the US FDA. Doctors advise against using it as a pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylactic.
Another doctor advised, “Drugs with emergency-use authorization should not be seen as miracle pills.” “We’ve seen how the indiscriminate use of some of these medications and therapies resulted in a great deal of damage (side effects) in several individuals.” We must learn from our experiences.
Active covid cases in Delhi
- “At the moment, there are 23,307 active cases in Delhi.
- 782 individuals, including some suspected cases, are being treated at hospitals.
- 140 (18%) of those in hospitals require oxygen,
- While 22 (3%) require ventilator assistance.
Hope you had a brief knowledge about Omicron vs Cold vs Flu symptoms and how to differentiate them.
An aspiring medical student from southern India