How to tell. Those two conditions were "a hallmark of the first disease and of delta and not nearly as prominent in omicron," says Mount Sinai's Carr. For instance, common allergy symptoms not associated with COVID-19 include itching and watery eyes. Symptoms of COVID-19. Yellow, Green, Brown, and More: What Does the Color of My Snot Mean? Three that have gained attention are nausea, night sweats and lower back pain. Did not lose taste or smell either. And unlike the common cold, sinus infections can be of both viral and bacterial origin. "I've seen a lot more people reporting fatigue as one of their main symptoms," he said. Omicron seems to be milder, but does seem to cause infections in many people with the vaccine. With infections at all-time highs in the U.S., the clinical picture is now coming together and starting to confirm what other countries have found a typical case of omicron not only presents slightly differently but also likely carries a lower chance of getting seriously ill. Scientists at Case Western Reserve University have preliminary evidence that the risk of being admitted to the hospital or the intensive care unit during the omicron surge in the U.S. is about half of the risk observed during the delta surge. If youre not feeling well, talk to your doctor or find one near you. Is There a Link Between a Low White Blood Cell Count and COVID-19? If they're reporting it, they're saying that their throat feels raw.". How Stress Increases the Risk of Getting COVID, "Stress compromises the immune system, throwing off its ability to fight illness," Walker states. She also ended up with a painful double ear infection. There was a strong tendency toward SEVERE SORE THROAT and even GI upset moreso. If you have respiratory symptoms, your doctor can use several tests to find out what is causing themfor example, if you have a sinus infection, COVID, or another condition. ", How to Reduce Inflammation in the Body Fast, If you suspect you have any of the symptoms mentioned here, get tested ASAP. Taking the time to properly rest and recover will help ensure your illness doesn't progress into something worse. Xu and her team estimate that, in their study, about 60% of the people were vaccinated. 8. The two share certain symptoms, but also have differences. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our. People have reported symptoms that vary, but are similar to signs of a common cold or flu. A runny nose and sneezing, congestion, and sore throat are a few symptoms that can pop up if you have . If they have mild to moderate illness and can stay home, but they have certain medical comorbidities, an antiviral treatment may be offered. "Therefore, people who are chronically ill, immunocompromised, or older adults are at greater risk of getting infected. If you have a negative COVID test, we can see you and determine if you have an actual sinus infection and then determine the best treatment, Dr. Ruff says. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. In most cases, they resolve without the need for medical care. "In the older age group, it's still a nasty disease, even if it's less [nasty] than the delta variant," says Dr. Pamela Davis, who's a pulmonologist at Case Western Reserve University and a senior author on the new study. And just like earlier variants, omicron can't be defined as causing only a narrow group of symptoms. However, these conditions arent the same thing. This is why you may feel pain or pressure in your face. The main difference between COVID and a sinus infection is what causes them. Or is it? Like the science and discovery news you find here? Sinusitis happens when your sinuses thenormally air-filledpockets in your face become inflamedand blocked. Aside from OTC medications, you will want to get plenty of rest and fluids, eat nutrient-rich foods, and keep yourself away from other people until your symptoms have subsided. For example, make sure you wash your hands often and try not to touch your face, nose, or eyes during cold/flu season. Culture techniques or even PCR technology may be used to identify specific pathogens. ", Omicron is spreading at lightning speed. Both allergies and sinus infections can feel miserable. Underlying allergy inflammation can lead to sinus infections. A key difference between the common cold and COVID-19 is the incubation period (time of exposure to an infection and the appearance of the first symptoms). But it's very possible that doctors and patients are simply paying more attention to these symptoms than they did with earlier variants, says Dr. Scott Roberts, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the Yale School of Medicine. "Many people are still going to be admitted to the ICU, and some people are still going to need to have mechanical ventilation.". And doctors are finding a key difference among their patients who are ending up in the ER or being admitted: Many are neither struggling to breathe nor dealing with perilously low oxygen levels. COVID-19 is an infection caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. For the common cold, the incubation period is relatively short, usually one to three days. Many locations offer drive-thru COVID-19 tests, or you can buy a rapid test from your local pharmacy, which gives you results in about 15 minutes. Allergy Cough vs. COVID Cough: What Are the Differences? If youre not vaccinated for COVID-19 and the flu, do so right away to reduce your chances of getting sick and spreading these infections to others. OMICRON variant has seen reduced problems with smell loss! "They're young people that typically can push through things. If you have pet dander allergies, make sure your furry loved ones dont sleep in bed with you and wash your hands after petting them and before touching your face. When you visit the site, Dotdash Meredith and its partners may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. One of the key differences is the itchiness of your eyes and skin that can occur with allergies, as well as the thick, yellow or green . "This is a pretty different surge," says Dr. Brendan Carr, chair of emergency medicine for the Mount Sinai Health System where the emergency rooms are busier than ever but many of the COVID-19 patients are not sick enough to be admitted. Some of the most common symptoms include a sinus headache, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, fatigue, and sneezing. You can support more innovations fueling advances across medicine, science, health and wellness by giving today. Your Face Mask Can Help, How To Protect Yourself From New COVID-19 Variants. By contrast, fatigue became more pronounced among outpatients, who often reported feeling tired and achy, Moreno said. Ugh. Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. "The cough is milder [than previous variants], if there's any cough at all, and fever seems to be a little less common.". That consistency, Xu says, suggests the reduction in severity is due, in part, to something inherent with omicron itself and not simply because of changes in vaccination status. Indeed, hospitalizations across the U.S. now stand at more than 126,000, and more than 1 in every 4 ICU beds is filled with a COVID-19 patient, according to the latest data from the Department of Health and Human Services. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. At a December news briefing, Ryan Noach, the CEO of Discovery Health, South Africa's largest private health insurer, said Omicron patients commonly reported a scratchy throat first, followed by nasal congestion, dry cough, and body aches. Youll need to take the full prescription, even if you start feeling better within a day or two. The primary symptoms of sinus infections include: In a majority of cases, sinus infections resolve as your bodys immune system attacks and destroys the infecting pathogens. They need rest. Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. Last medically reviewed on November 20, 2018, A sinus infection occurs when your nasal cavities become swollen, infected, or inflamed. I have seen more patients with lingering sinusitis after Omicron COVID than prior variants. Severe allergies can lead to a cold-like condition called allergic rhinitis. This may show up almost like non specific concussion symptoms with fatigue, mental fatigue, eye fatigue, non specific dizziness, feeling dizzy in wide open places, or feeling dizzy in busy indoor areas. It also details treatment options for both, why a proper diagnosis is important, and when to see your healthcare provider. Another preprint study, released earlier this month, showed that the viral load from an Omicron infection peaked in saliva one to two days before it peaked in nasal swabs a sign that Omicron may infect the throat before it infects the nose. Distinguishing between the common cold and sinus infections can be challenging for patients and healthcare providers alike. Now amidst the Omicron-wave of infections hitting vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, it is clear in our practice we are seeing a lot of exacerbations of sinus infections. Therefore, preventing a sinus infection often means trying to avoid the illnesses that usually precede it. Its probably anothersinus infection. And a small study from Norway found that, among . And among unvaccinated people, he says, an omicron infection can feel like the same unforgiving disease to him. congestion or runny nose. OMICRON VARIANT BA.2: These started popping up late December 21. cases are dropping in certain areas, the pandemic isn't over and Omicron is still infecting thousands of people daily. Bacterial sinus infection secondary to COVID-19 may be a cause for lingering loss of smell. day, 2022 Galvanized Media. Sinusitis occurs when your nasal passages become inflamed. Even your doctor cant tell if your infection is viral or bacterial based solely on symptoms or an exam.. Proper diagnosis is essential, and the doctor will need to know whether you have viral or bacterial sinusitis. Also, the more stressed you are, the more likely you may experience more severe symptoms or a longer duration of illness. ; Duration: Whereas cold symptoms generally start to improve after . Differences. Colds are more common than sinus infections and symptoms tend to improve quicker. Sinus infections most often occur after a cold or an allergy flare-up or in relation to a nasal condition. Additionally, if you have any symptoms which are in any way associated with COVID-19, you should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines regarding testing and quarantining and contact your healthcare provider. Sarah Ruff, MD is a family medicine physician at UNC Family Medicine at Southpoint. But this apparent change in the disease that a severe infection in the lungs doesn't seem as common means fewer people need supplemental oxygen or intubation. Another not-yet-peer-reviewed study, published on Wednesday, found that Omicron inherently reduced the risk of severe hospitalization or death from COVID-19 by 25% compared with Delta. If you have respiratory symptoms, you might fear that you have COVID. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This lower risk with omicron is also consistent with what scientists have observed in South Africa and the United Kingdom. These observations also line up with lab research that shows omicron does not replicate in lung tissue as well as delta. Instead, your doctor lookslargelyat symptom duration to determine the source of your infection. Also explore types, prevention, and more. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Sinus infections also cause thick, discolored mucus, and bad breath. An accurate diagnosis from a healthcare professional is required to ensure that you get the appropriate treatment. In adults and older children, RSV is typically a mild illness very similar to the common cold. A sinus infection that lasts for months is chronic sinusitis, which can be caused by an infection or growths in the nasal cavity. Emily is a health communication consultant, writer, and editor at EVR Creative, specializing in public health research and health promotion. And most of all, does this variant cause less severe disease than the variants that have come before it? In contrast, delta took about four days, and the original variant took more than five. 2023 Dotdash Media, Inc. All rights reserved, Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. What Is a Sinus Infection? Know your treatment options for COVID-19. If you know youre allergic to pollen and that pollen season is around the corner, start taking your antihistamine ahead of time. People with severe COVID illness usually need to be in the hospital, and some end up needing to be in the intensive care unit (ICU). A commuter masks up for a bus ride in Liverpool, England. Some patients of course are much more ill, with about 5 to 10% needing hospital care, and for those patients sinus infection or ear symptoms may go untreated for longer. This was the case even before omicron: People who had breakthrough infections tended to have fewer symptoms and milder ones than those who were unvaccinated. Editors note: As what we know about COVID-19 evolves, so could the information in this story. Walker says, "Omicron symptoms tend to be more concentrated on the upper respiratory tract. Vaccination reduces your risk of COVID death 90% or more. How to protect yourself & others. Even though early data shows that omicron is milder than delta, many hospitals are packed because the sheer number of people getting infected is enormous. You should also make an appointment if your symptoms worsen or fail to improve despite home treatments. In March, before Delta was detected and vaccines were widely available, 60% of UK adults ages 16 to 65 on the Zoe app reported loss of smell at some point in their illness. ", RELATED: Secret Weight Loss Tricks to Melt Visceral Fat, Science Says, 4 Normally they're filled with air. Children's Wisconsin. But dont look for an antibiotic unless your illness extends beyond a week, he says. For example, if you're over age 65, your risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19 is still 5% with the omicron variant, which means 1 in 20 people infected in this age group will end up in the hospital. Read our. Long-term (chronic) or severe allergies benefit more from daily treatments, such as Zyrtec or Claritin. They can talk to you about your symptoms, screen you for COVID risk factors, perform diagnostic tests to determine what is making you sick, and make sure that you get the appropriate treatment. Patients with chronic sinusitis have complaints of nasal blockage, facial pressure, eye pressure, runny nose, postnasal drip and headache. COVID-19 is a viral infection, which means that many of the same steps that you would take to protect yourself from a cold or the flu (such as washing your hands and avoiding people who are sick) can help lower your risk of getting the virus. Most people dont require special treatment for the common cold, and theres no vaccine or outright cure. This itchiness is one of the key distinguishing factors between allergies and sinusitis. Typically we allow 7 to 10 days for an acute sinus infection to resolve on its own, but after this point antibiotics or anti-inflammatories or other specialized medications may be needed. But the omicron variant tends to share many of the same symptoms as the common cold. Allergies can be chronic or seasonal, but avoidance and medication can help alleviate your symptoms. } ); If a person did end up in the hospital, the person's risk of being admitted to the ICU or being put on a ventilator also decreased substantially at the end of December compared with during the delta surge. The exception is if youve never been diagnosed with allergies before or if your allergies seem to be getting worse. If symptoms dont go away after three months, youre considered to have a chronic sinus infection. Learn more about what yellow, green, brown, black, and red. So its important to wait and see how long your symptoms last. However, there are a few key differences. Many people report that one of the first symptoms of Omicron is a sore throat. Youll also want to wash your hair before bed after being outside and keep your windows closed when pollen counts are high. Allergies can develop at any point in your life. We've rounded up the seven best decongestants to help relieve your pressure, pain, and congestion. Some common sinus infection treatments include: According to the CDC, antibiotics are usually not needed for viral sinus infections. The virus spreads from person to person and can cause mild to severe illness. A sinus infection, or sinusitis, occurs when your nasal passages get infected. If this persists, smell training therapy can help, though sometimes (rarely) this loss is permanent. "It just seems that people who have been vaccinated ahead of time are getting much milder symptoms across the board," he says. Learn about tips for relieving symptoms like inflammation, nasal congestion, and irritation. ), "The risk is not zero," says Xu's colleague Davis, speaking of omicron. Omicron seems to cause LESS loss of smell due to reduced affinity for the nerve endings! Policy. For people who are at high risk for severe disease, such as older people or those with underlying health issues, the chance of being hospitalized is still quite significant. There are several ways to treat a sinus infection. "Their symptoms are resolved. Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School. This article covers the key similarities and differences between the common cold and sinus infection, as well as what care looks like for these respiratory diseases. Omicron vs. Allergy Symptoms Though COVID-19 and allergies are caused by significantly different thingsthe SARS-CoV-2 virus and airborne substances like pollen, respectivelythe two can. It usually spreads between people who are in close contact. Many patients with this kind of persisting head pain may benefit from migraine medications or those used to block neural signals upstream of nerve endings. Click for More Info about Dr. Rogers and how we can help out! 2023 Dotdash Media, Inc. All rights reserved, Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. The omicron subvariant of COVID-19, BA.5, became one of the dominant strains of the virus in the fall of 2022 in the U.S. At that time, it was the most easily spread strain to date and is able to evade immunity from COVID infection and vaccination.
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