Symptoms of the omicron variant differ from past coronavirus symptoms, making them difficult to detect unless tested for COVID-19.
According to health experts, a new and unique symptom of the omicron variant has emerged: Night sweats.
“People aren’t reporting a loss of taste or smell as much with omicron as they were with previous variants,” Dr. John Torres, NBC News senior medical correspondent told the Today Show. “But people are reporting night sweats, which is a very strange symptom that they say they’re having.”
But what are night sweats exactly and how did they get associated with COVID-19?
Here is what you need to know.
Night sweats are “repeated episodes of extreme perspiration” that might soak your bedsheets, according to The Mayo Clinic.
They are often related to an illness or underlying medical condition.
Night sweats were most commonly associated with medical conditions ranging in severity from the flu to cancer but were not associated with the coronavirus until the omicron variant of COVID-19 started spreading globally.
Night sweats are one of the unique symptoms that medical professionals say distinguishes the omicron variant from other COVID-19 variants. A scratchy, sore throat is another.
Doctors treating patients in hospitals and urgent cares documented more patients coming in with the omicron variant of COVID-19 reporting night sweats.
Dr. Amir Khan, a physician with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, said people should now look for night sweats as a symptom of the omicron variant of COVID so they can get tested.
“It’s important we keep on top of these symptoms, because if we’re going to keep track of omicron here and worldwide we need to be able to test people with these symptoms,” Dr. Khan told The Sun.
The main symptoms of the omicron variant according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other sources are the following:
- Runny nose
- Sore or scratchy throat
- Night sweats
Those who test positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19 are less likely to have a loss of taste or smell, when compared to the COVID strains from 2020 and most of 2021.
But they are more likely to have the unique symptom of night sweats.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says you should get one of the three COVID-19 vaccines that are available to you — Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson — along with wearing a mask indoors in public, staying six feet apart from others, and washing your hands often with soap and water.
For those 18 years of age and older who received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, the CDC recommends getting a booster two months after the one-shot J&J vaccine, preferably switching to an mRNA vaccine such as the Pfizer or Moderna shots.
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