After more than two years, Covid-19 has become a part of our life. Numbers of infected people in Malaysia can be found updated daily on MySejahtera and other websites; checking-in to outlets that we go to are common; we wear masks and wash our hands frequently to reduce the risk of infection; we get vaccines for ourselves and our healthy loved one’s to prevent from getting severe Covid-19 infections and we do many other things that have now become a habit.
For the past couple of years, we have seen many variants of Covid-19. There was the Alpha variant that took so many lives, the Beta variant that was quite mild, the Delta variant which was also as scary as the first variant and most recently, the Omicron variant.
Although the Omicron variant is similar to the Beta variant where those infected get “milder” symptoms, due to its high transmissibility, it is spreading faster than any of the previous variants. In the United States, 99% of new infections are accounted for by the Omicron variant, pushing the formerly dominant Delta variant out of the equation almost fully.
The top 5 symptoms of Omicron (according to the U.K. ZOE COVID Study App), which are similar to the Delta variant are:
- Runny nose
- Fatigue (mild or severe)
- Sore throat
As we recall, the symptoms of loss of taste or loss of smell that was more dominant when the Beta variant was around has become less common. However, there are another two latest symptoms that have been picked up by doctors in South Africa — where the Omicron cases were first reported at the beginning — and through ZOE as well.
- Muscle Aches or Pain
When the Omicron variant first appeared in South Africa, many that were infected would go to doctors and complain of muscle aches or pain that are both mild and severe. Muscle aches and pain — also known as myalgia — is some of the sign to look out for.
“People will tell us they went to bed last night [and say that] they felt warm and cold during the night, [and wake up with] body aches and pain, chest pain, or backache and fatigue—that’s Omicron,” Angelique Coetzee, a South African doctor and chair of the South African Medical Association (SAMA), told MSNBC (video here).
- Pain in shoulders or legs
Another study found by U.K. ZOE COVID Study App was that pain in the legs and shoulders are also another common symptom of those infected with Omicron. Some who were infected complained about odd feelings like numbness or pins and needles or weakness in the legs. Others said that they feel pain, stiffness or numbness in their shoulders.
Although the two symptoms above might seem like a common daily issue (like if you was in a bad sleeping position the night before), they could still be tell-tale signs that you are infected and you could be extra careful by checking yourself with a self-test kit, staying indoors and limiting contact with others until it’s proven you are Covid-free.
The rise in cases of body pain might be due to inflammatory mediators that affect the musculoskeletal system more than previous variants. However, even though muscle aches or pain in the shoulders and legs are found in many of the Omicron-infected cases, the top 5 symptoms of Omicron are what you should be aware of and look out for or be alert of.