Symptoms of COVID-19 appear to be changing.  Here's what you're looking for

Symptoms of COVID-19 appear to be changing. Here’s what you’re looking for

More people are reporting different symptoms of the virus.

If you have ever wondered whether or not you contracted the coronavirus this year, you are far from alone.

While fewer people are visiting clinics to get tested for COVID-19, many people are calling HealthLink BC for guidance on whether or not they have symptoms of the virus. And with rapid tests widely available, British Columbians may test themselves in the comfort of their own home.

The number of COVID-19 patients in British Columbia hospitals rose by 46 in the past week, to 596 today — the highest number since February 25, when there were 599 patients.

But most people who test positive for the virus won’t end up in the hospital — and some may certainly develop mild symptoms.

Symptoms of COVID-19: What to look for

Dr. Brian Conway is medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Disease Center (VIDC) and assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapy at the University of British Columbia. Tell Vancouver is amazing In a phone interview, people should continue to look for COVID-19 respiratory symptoms.

“It’s still a respiratory illness: a cough and shortness of breath … and viral components of it, headaches, muscle aches, things like that. It’s still there,” he explained.

However, the doctor noted that people who have been vaccinated may experience “very mild” symptoms, such as a sore throat, mild coughing and sneezing.

“So I think what we should do is if you ever have any symptoms, given that rapid tests are available in abundance now, it’s a test.”

Omicron Symptoms: Are there some changes in what you should look for?

Early in the epidemic, British Columbians were advised by Public Health that loss of taste and/or smell was a common symptom of the virus. Now, far fewer people are reporting these symptoms.

Instead, Conway explained, more people are reporting gastrointestinal symptoms, such as stomach pain and nausea.

“So I would recommend someone who is feeling nauseous to go for a COVID test,” he said, noting that many people who have tested positive feel far from having an upset stomach.

But Conway cannot say for sure whether Ommicron’s symptoms are different or if they look different because such a high percentage of the population has been vaccinated. Furthermore, there are several variants of the Omicron strain spread throughout the population.

Corona virus rapid tests

With rapid tests widely available in British Columbia, people should test themselves if they think they have symptoms of the virus.

Conway stressed that anyone at greater risk of developing severe illness should seek medical attention immediately.

“If you are over 60, or if you have two other diseases…or if you have diabetes, I would seek attention because there is a treatment called baxiloid,” he said. “So if you take it twice daily for five days, it will significantly reduce the recovery rate.

“But it has to be taken within the first five days of illness. So there is a bit of a rush.”

For people who are not at high risk of severe disease and who develop mild symptoms, a positive result on the rapid test is a “red flag”. On the other hand, a negative result does not necessarily indicate that you are free of COVID-19 – the test may have been taken too soon or it could give a false negative result.

If you have questions about your symptoms, contact your healthcare provider or call 811. You can also use the British Columbia Center for Disease Control (BCCDC) self-assessment tool.

Learn more information about whether you should get tested for COVID-19 through the BCCDC online.

With files from Glen Korstrom

2022-05-13 00:06:28

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