Omicron, hay fever, or cold?

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The omicron variant has become even more challenging to distinguish between corona, hay fever, and cold in spring. But even though the symptoms are very similar, they are rarely the same, and some complaints can be relatively clearly attributed.

Corona incidences are finally dropping but are still very high; almost everyone knows one or more people who have or have had covid-19 right now. However, many people currently have colds, and flying birch, ash, or alder pollen has opened the hay fever season.

So if you currently feel that something is coming on, it can be one or the other; the symptoms are often very similar. But there are differences in intensity, and some signs can be attributed.

The nose runs, and the sense of taste remains

Loss of taste or smell is hardly typical corona indica anymore due to the dominance of the omicron variant, as recent evaluations of the British ZOE study show, which collects health information from many thousands of voluntary participants via smartphone apps. According to the study, at 82 percent, the most frequently reported symptom is a runny nose, which was still rare in previous variants. In second place comes fatigue, in which 70 percent of the participants who tested positive felt greater or lesser.

Sore throat and headache (69 percent each) and sneezing (68 percent) are frequently noted omicron symptoms. Those infected often suffer from a persistent cough (54 percent) or hoarseness (48 percent). As many as 23 percent of participants experienced back pain.

Loss of taste practically no longer plays any role at all. Also, shortness of breath, formerly a typical Covid 19 sign, is no longer among the 20 most frequently mentioned complaints. Only 32 and 24 percent of ZOE participants had a fever or noticed a change in their smell; a year ago, these were still apparent Corona symptoms.

Stuffy nose or itchy eyes?

Although the omicron complaints are now very similar, there are still differences. For example, a runny nose with a cold usually quickly turns into a tighter-fitting cold. In allergy sufferers, the nose runs constantly, and the sneezing is extreme.

In addition, they often have itchy eyes or palate, which, on the other hand, rarely occurs with omicron or a cold. Those who have a fever can almost rule out hay fever as the cause, and the situation is similar to fatigue and aching limbs or muscles.

The latter symptoms and sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, etc., are also typical signs of an omicron infection, but the symptoms are often much milder. It is often compared to a cold that does not break through properly. This is true for very young people, but especially for people vaccinated several times.

Gastrointestinal problems also occurred with previous Corona variants, but the ZOE data showed a marked increase in symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, or loss of appetite in December and January. However, this turned out to be the case to the same extent in people who had not contracted the coronavirus, epidemiologist Tim Spector wrote recently. Therefore, the complaints were probably due to gastrointestinal viruses, which are also more strongly circulating.

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