Familiarize Yourself With COVID Symptoms For The Upcoming Fall Season

Familiarize Yourself With COVID Symptoms For The Upcoming Fall Season

Key Insights by TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track:

  • Anticipate an increase in COVID cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities during the fall and winter.
  • COVID symptoms continue to vary in severity, with common signs including a sore throat, fever, and cough.
  • Keep COVID test kits readily available to distinguish between COVID and other infections like the flu or RSV.

Historical data underscores that autumn and winter are prime seasons for COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory viruses. The return to school can alter social interactions and expose individuals to new risks, while colder weather drives people indoors.

It’s crucial not to dismiss COVID-19 from our concerns. The virus is likely to persist in the foreseeable future. Fortunately, we have effective tools at our disposal to stay safe, such as vaccines, medications, and testing.

COVID-19 symptoms encompass a wide range, from respiratory issues like coughs and runny noses to gastrointestinal symptoms like stomach aches and diarrhea. Therefore, the threshold for COVID-19 testing should remain low.

Especially given the rising numbers, it’s important for individuals to re-prioritize COVID testing when feeling unwell. COVID should remain on our radar as something to consider testing for if symptoms arise.

Omicron Subvariants Are Still Circulating

Hospitalizations and COVID-19-related fatalities have recently exhibited an uptick, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, albeit not as dramatically as in previous years.1 Additionally, scientists employ wastewater surveillance to monitor the emergence of new variants.

The prevailing subvariant of COVID-19 at present, known as “EG.5,” is a descendant of Omicron and was first identified in February 2023. It shares similarities with earlier iterations of the Omicron variant.2

Importantly, current evidence does not suggest that EG.5 substantially differs from its predecessors or causes notably more severe illness. Compared to older variants, both Omicron and its subvariants tend to be more contagious and have shorter incubation periods (the time between virus exposure and symptom onset). However, precisely assessing the transmissibility of EG.5 can be challenging, as changes in public behavior, such as reduced testing and isolation when symptomatic, can also contribute to a rise in cases.

It’s worth noting that although infections are on the rise, we are thankfully still far from the levels observed in the previous year.

Sore Throat and Fever May Be Early Symptoms

Taking into account the shorter incubation period of the Omicron variant, individuals typically experience COVID-19 symptoms within an average of three days after exposure to the virus. While specific data regarding the EG.5 subvariant are not yet available, experts suggest it behaves similarly to previous Omicron iterations.

Identifying COVID-19 can be challenging due to the variability in symptoms among individuals. During the early stages of the pandemic, the loss of smell or taste was a prominent indicator of COVID-19 infection, but it is less common now.

Initial symptoms of COVID-19 may encompass a sore throat, dry cough, and fever. Recent studies indicate that these symptoms may be milder, thanks to the protection provided by vaccines. Based on self-reported information from a symptom-tracking application, individuals infected with the Omicron variant tend to recover more swiftly than those infected with earlier variants, with most reporting recovery within one week of symptom onset.

Other Common COVID Symptoms Include Cough and Shortness of Breath

According to the CDC, COVID-19 can manifest with a wide spectrum of severity, ranging from mild symptoms like a runny nose to life-threatening illnesses. The agency has identified various COVID symptoms, which include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Congestion or runny nose

While all these symptoms are considered common, it’s not necessary to experience all of them to have COVID. As one expert noted, “You may only have a scratchy throat without any other symptoms,” or you might exhibit every symptom on the list except for a sore throat. It’s crucial not to dismiss the possibility of having COVID based on the absence of certain symptoms. Even a single symptom is a valid reason to consider taking a COVID test.

Less Common COVID Symptoms May Include Nausea and Vomiting

It’s important to note that information about COVID-19 can evolve over time as more research and data become available. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the CDC did include symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of taste or smell as possible symptoms of COVID-19. However, the prevalence and significance of these symptoms can vary among individuals and over time.

The statement that loss of taste or smell is no longer considered a common symptom of COVID-19 may be accurate if it reflects the most recent guidance from health authorities. The presentation of COVID-19 symptoms can indeed differ among individuals, and new information can influence our understanding of the disease.

Regarding gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting, while they may not be as common as respiratory symptoms like cough, it’s true that COVID-19 can manifest in various ways and affect different people differently. Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal symptoms as a primary presentation of the disease, while others may not have these symptoms at all.

The unpredictability of how individuals react to COVID-19 is a significant challenge in managing and understanding the virus. It’s crucial to stay updated on the latest information from reputable health organizations like the CDC or the World Health Organization (WHO) for the most current guidance on COVID-19 symptoms and precautions.

Why You Should Still Test for COVID

If you’re feeling unwell, it’s advisable to undergo COVID-19 testing. Even if you’re experiencing common symptoms like fatigue, which can accompany various illnesses, it’s prudent to get tested to rule out COVID-19. Disregarding testing based on the assumption that the illness may not be COVID-19 is not a recommended approach.

Testing is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it is the initial step towards regaining your health. This is especially crucial for individuals at a higher risk of severe infection. Those who are older than 60, immunocompromised due to illness or medication, or have conditions such as asthma or chronic lung disease are more susceptible to severe illness.

If you find yourself feeling particularly unwell, especially if you are over 65 and test positive for COVID-19, it’s crucial to reach out to a primary care provider. There are medications like Paxlovid, a prescription oral antiviral pill for COVID-19, which can aid in your recovery and reduce the risk of severe complications.

Additionally, testing remains vital for curtailing the spread of COVID-19, especially with the potential for a peak season approaching. Those who test positive should continue to isolate to prevent exposing others in the community.

Above all, the most effective preparation for the next potential wave of COVID-19 is to ensure you are up to date with your vaccinations. Both the initial vaccines and bivalent boosters offer robust protection against severe disease and mortality caused by COVID-19.

To Summarize

In summary, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and be prepared for the potential uptick in cases during the fall and winter seasons. If you begin experiencing symptoms, don’t hesitate to visit one of our convenient TGH Urgent Care walk-in locations near you for COVID-19 testing. Additionally, ensure you are up to date with your vaccinations if you haven’t already done so. At TGH Urgent Care, Your Well-being is Our Priority

TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track is dedicated to providing top-notch care for non-life-threatening medical concerns, catering to patients aged 3 months and older. We routinely address a variety of ailments, including urinary tract infections, ear infections, and flu. With our in-house laboratory testing and advanced imaging capabilities, we can offer comprehensive and immediate diagnoses. Plus, we have an on-site pharmacy to conveniently fulfill any necessary prescriptions.

Our extensive network of 15+ TGH Urgent Care locations is open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, ensuring that you can access COVID-19 treatment when it’s most needed. If you’d like more information about the range of treatments we provide, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. If you plan to visit, consider reducing your wait time by using our convenient On My Way system to check in ahead of your arrival. Your health and well-being are of utmost importance to us.

Sources:

TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track, uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID Data Tracker: Summary of Variant Surveillance.
  2. World Health Organization. EG.5 initial risk evaluation.
  3. Jansen L, Tegomoh B, Lange K, et al. Investigation of a SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant cluster – Nebraska, November-December 2021MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021;70(5152):1782-1784. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm705152e3
  4. Houhamdi L, Fournier PE. Smart apps for self-reporting clinical informationLancet. 2022;399(10335):1575-1576. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(22)00453-6
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of COVID-19.
Disclaimer

The blogs presented by TGH Urgent Care in partnership with Fast Track are not a replacement for medical care and are exclusively intended for educational purposes. The content provided here should not be construed as medical guidance. If you are encountering any symptoms, we strongly recommend that you seek an appointment with a duly qualified medical practitioner at our nearest facility.

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