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Sure Signs You Have an Omicron Infection

Experts explain Omicron symptoms to be aware of and what preventive measures to take. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The United States is finally seeing a steep drop in COVID cases, but experts warn us the pandemic isn't over. Another surge is likely to happen due to new variants and an uptick in cases currently happening overseas. While Omicron isn't severe for many people, it should still be taken seriously because it can cause long-term effects like brain fog, mood changes, sleep issues and more. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who reveal what the signs of Omicron are that indicate you could have the virus and what preventive measures to take. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Fever or Chills

Woman being sick having flu lying on sofa looking at temperature on thermometer. Sick woman lying in bed with high fever.
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Dr. Teresa Amato, MD, chair of emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills (LIJ Forest Hills) in Queens says, "Fever and chills are often the sign of any infection, however if you are in an area that is seeing a surge in Omicron COVID infections, it would be important to get tested as soon as possible to ensure proper treatment and to practice appropriate isolation precautions. The body uses its ability to increase body temperature as a means to make the environment lethal for an infecting virus which tends to thrive at what is a normal body temperature.  Your body is essentially trying to burn the virus to death."

2

Cough

Sick woman with flu at home
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Dr. Amato states, "The Omicron COVID variant, much like other variants, is often primarily a respiratory infection because it is passed by droplets which enter the body through the respiratory system.  Once the infection starts to penetrate the body, the body mounts an inflammatory response which can cause swelling and irritation to the lining of the upper airway and throat.  This in turn may lead to the sensation of pain as the inflammatory process is taking place."

3

Fatigue and Body Aches

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According to Dr. Amato, "Like many other viruses, the Omicron COVID variant can cause lethargy and feeling tired as well as pain experienced in muscles and joints.  Once the virus has taken hold and is replicating quickly the immune system starts to kick in high gear throwing many inflammatory measures at the virus.  During this time the inflammation can cause aches and pain.  In addition it takes a lot of energy to fight off the virus and your body will naturally feel the need to sleep and rest so that there is no unnecessary use of available resources." 
RELATED: I Have Omicron and This is What it Feels Like

4

Omicron is Still Highly Contagious

Woman with face mask sneezing into elbow while sitting in a cafe.
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"The Omicron variant with its lineages and sub-lineages (BA. 1, BA. 1.1 and BA. 2) of the COVID-19 virus are the most prevalent of COVID infections in the United States at this time," says Dr. Amato. "It does appear to be more transmissible than previous variants and researchers are still studying why this is so.  Although some symptoms are more common such as fever, cough, sore throat and body aches, some people have less common symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea with little to no respiratory symptoms.  The reason for this is probably multifactorial and may depend on which variant of the virus is causing the infection as well as the individual's own immune system."

RELATED: COVID Symptoms Usually Appear Like This

5

Preventive Measures to Take

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Dr. Emil Tsai, M.D.– Ph.D., M.A.S., chief scientist and CEO of SyneuRx explains, "Regrettably, we don't have any new tricks for prevention. We should still get vaccinated, keep our distance from those who can't get vaccinated, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. We must also get tested whenever we are in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or if we are experiencing symptoms, do our part to avoid large crowds, and wear high-quality masks (N95, KN95, or KF94) in indoor spaces because of this very contagious coronavirus strain."

RELATED: I'm a Virus Expert and if You Have This Symptom, Get Help

6

How to Stay Safe Out There

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Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather