While the omicron variant infects more people than COVID-19 has ever done in the United States, most people who catch the virus have fairly mild symptoms and avoid hospitalization, especially those who are fully vaccinated. and boosted. But just like with the variants that came before it, the duration of omicron symptoms varies from person to person.
“Those with a mild case of COVID-19 usually recover within one to two weeks,” Dr. Lisa Maragakis said in an article for Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The most common early symptoms are a runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and a sore throat, according to research from the UK. These omicron symptoms often resemble a cold, but there may also be a cough and flu-like symptoms, including fever and body aches.
The exact duration of these symptoms is highly individualized and depends on many factors such as your age, vaccination status, general health, and how much rest you take when you are sick. For some people with particularly mild COVID cases, these symptoms go away in as little as five days, allowing them to end the isolation.
“For severe cases, recovery may take six weeks or more, and there may be lasting damage to the heart, kidneys, lungs and brain,” Maragakis said.
Considering that omicron has only been in the United States for about six weeks, it’s too early to tell if omicron is causing a “long COVID.” The CDC says it is still collecting data on the severity and duration of omicron infections.
That being said, long COVID – a condition where symptoms of COVID persist for months or even years after diagnosis – is more closely associated with people who become seriously ill, especially those who need to be hospitalized. People with mild cases are less likely to show long-term symptoms, research shows, although it is still possible.
On the positive side, it appears that one of the more persistent COVID-19 symptoms, loss of taste and smell, is less common with omicron. With other variants of the coronavirus, the loss of taste is known to persist for weeks or even months.
The best way to protect yourself from the omicron variant, especially from serious illness, is to keep up to date with your vaccinations, the CDC explains.
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