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UVA doctor discusses omicron variant symptoms

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 12:24 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As many viruses continue to spread, people are wondering if it’s the omicron variant of COVID-19 or just the common cold.

Doctor Bill Petri with UVA Health says the omicron variant can sometimes begin as a sore throat and affect the upper respiratory tract.

“It can be cold and flu symptoms - and so a runny nose, it can be just achy fever - is omicron. Fortunately, is less likely to cause pneumonia, so you’re a little bit less likely to be short of breath,” Petri said. “Initially, it can also affect your gastrointestinal track, so having like symptoms like nausea or diarrhea, could be omicron, as well. So any of those things would be a reason to go ahead and get a rapid test.”

If you get tested, Petri says you should not rely on a one negative result from a rapid antigen test. It’s important to repeat it one to two days later just to be sure it’s not COVID-19.

“Don’t for a moment take this lightly with omicron,” Petri said. “It’s important to continue the social distancing and the mask wearing. If you’ve been vaccinated, that’s wonderful. That’s going to keep you out of the hospital with omicron. If you get boosted, it’s going to prevent the sore throat and the milder symptoms and also help prevent transmitting it to someone else.”

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