As the virus mutates, the most common COVID symptoms also seem to change



SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, is particularly devastating because it can make its way to many different organs and systems in the body. It manifests itself in the form of various symptoms, from fever to breathing difficultiesalthough the infection can also be asymptomatic – that is, there are no symptoms at all.

Throughout the pandemic, there have been some telltale signs of COVID infection. Loss sense of smell And the the taste Including. But as did the virus mutated over and overand the creation of new breeds such as Typhon (BQ.1) and griffon (XBB) which can evade Some of our tools to combat it, symptoms of COVID seem to have changed, too.

Recent estimates published By the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, Typhoon and its close relative Cerberus (BQ.1.1) were linked as making up 27 percent of cases, up 11 percent from last week. Meanwhile, cases of BA.5, the strain that dominated cases for the majority of summer, fell below 50 percent for the first time in months.

In fact, emerging data points to symptoms of COVID be with new variables. And it can vary regardless of whether or not you’ve been vaccinated, or have previously been infected. Newly released data from a ZOE Health study that maintains COVID Symptom Tracker Appit was found that the predominant symptoms had changed.

The app originally launched in March 2020. It quickly registered a million users, who wrote how COVID was making them feel, allowing researchers to identify some of the most common COVID symptoms. That was part of the reason why it was so well known that anosmia (loss of smell and taste) was one of the main symptoms of the original COVID strain.

Recently, ZOE crush data From more than 4.8 million users they found that after the two vaccinations, the main symptoms were sore throat, runny nose, stuffy nose, persistent cough, and headache, in that order. (Vaccines can protect against severe illness, which generally means hospitalization or death, but superinfection is unheard of, although it is much less severe than infection in the unvaccinated.)

The loss of smell decreased to rank nine, while shortness of breath decreased to rank 30 for this group. ZOE says this indicates that “symptoms as previously reported change with the evolving variants of the virus.”

Just one dose of the vaccine can shift the order of the most common symptoms into headache, runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and then a persistent cough. For those who have never received a vaccine, symptoms are generally closer to the original 2020 order: headache, sore throat, runny nose, fever and persistent cough.

However, the loss of smell decreased to rank nine, while shortness of breath decreased to rank 30 for this group. ZOE says this indicates that “symptoms as previously reported change with the evolving variants of the virus.”

Just because SARS-2 appears to be evolving doesn’t mean it will become more “milder” — and it’s certainly not like the flu or the common cold. The virus attacks randomly Inner lining of blood vesselscausing injuries heart and lungs, and can literally cause brain damage. Due to a wide range of debilitating symptoms Known as the long COVID, it doesn’t really make sense to describe this as “mild”. Additionally, repeated infections may have unknown consequences – experts aren’t quite sure what happens when you get COVID two, three or more times.

This is why it is important to pay attention to new symptoms. Covid disease may present differently because different viral strains sometimes affect different parts of the body. The Delta strain, for example, has found its niche in the lower respiratory tract, while Omicron BA.2 It tends to favor the upper airway.

But it’s also important to note that the data from the ZOE is self-reported and does not take into account demographic information or the variant that caused the infection. It also uses averages to report the most common symptoms – everyone is different and there is no guarantee here that the disease will follow a particular course.

However, the data gives a good idea of ​​what to expect and people should be aware of these changes in order to best protect themselves. And the tools to combat COVID haven’t really changed: testing, masking, indoor ventilation, like drugs Baxlovid And of course Vaccines They are all powerful strategies that we must use more often to prevent this winter wave from becoming too deadly. Biden administration warned This week, an estimated 30-70,000 Americans could die from the virus this winter. But even a small wave can cause supply chain disruptions and infect millions.

The only thing that could make this winter worse than previous COVID waves is the upswing.”Assorted soup“which means multiple new strains of the virus rise at once. In previous fall and winter waves, only one type of virus (such as the original delta or ‘wild type’ strain) dominated.

Public health experts also warn of “Twinor even ‘tripled’ as COVID rises with influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Most people may have never heard of RSV, but it has been. first discovered In chimpanzees in 1956, the virus regularly causes outbreaks of disease in humans. usually just serious In children and the elderly, but it is still a not very pleasant disease.

Although the fall is just beginning, both influenza and RSV are coming back with a vengeance after relatively few cases in the past two years. on Friday, and Washington Post It reported that this flu season is earlier and more severe than it was 13 years ago, “with at least 880,000 cases of flu illness, 6,900 hospitalizations and 360 flu-related deaths nationwide.” Meanwhile, children’s hospital beds across the United States are filled with cases of respiratory syncytial virus, many of which are Fully full for weeks.

Symptoms of influenza and RSV (cold-like symptoms such as fever, runny nose, and cough) may overlap, making it somewhat confusing for patients to know what disease they really have. This underscores the importance of COVID testing and seeing a doctor when sick, if you have access to medical care. It also serves as a reminder to stay home when sick and go undercover when possible.

Masking prevents the spread of all three of these viruses: influenza, RSV and COVID. This is one theory that explains why the last two winters were free of diseases other than COVID, which have prevailed due to the novelty and severity of their prevalence. But as restrictions ease, some of these familiar viruses are back again. Keeping track of new and old symptoms is only part of the equation. Masks, vaccines, and social distancing are still some of the best tools at our disposal.

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