Omicron: symptoms, severity, how to protect yourself

THE Omicron variant of covid-19 is one of the variants of current concern. Initially reported in South Africa, it stands out for having a large number of mutations, greater transmission capacity and greater chance of reinfection.

Although it can also lead to death, it is considered lighter than other variants for generally promoting less severe conditions. Measures currently known to reduce the risk of Covid-19 are also valid against the Ômicron variant. Therefore, it is essential to use masks well adjusted, avoid agglomerations, wash your hands frequently, leave well-ventilated environments and get vaccinated.

Read too:Flurona — the coronavirus and influenza coinfection

Summary of the Ômicron variant

  • The Ômicron variant was initially described in Africa.
  • It has many mutations and large transmission capacity.
  • Its most common symptoms are tiredness, body aches, headache and sore throat.
  • Avoiding agglomerations, wearing masks and getting vaccinated are measures to protect yourself from it.

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What is the Omicron variant of covid-19?

Covid-19 is a disease caused by virus SARS-CoV-2, which, like any virus, mutates. Some of these mutations can change the behavior of the disease, while others do not change the already known pattern. According to Fiocruz News Agency, viral genetic sequences that differ in one or more mutations are called variants. Still according to Fiocruz, in the world, there are about a thousand variants of the new coronavirus. Omicron is one of them.

The Ômicron variant, or B.1.1.529, has a large number of mutations. In addition, it stands out for being highly transmissible and, according to preliminary studies, presenting an increased risk of reinfection.

The Omicron is part of the so-called variants of concern (or VOC, from English, variant of concern). Variants that are part of this group have greater transmission capacity, greater pathogenicity and/or greater escape from the immune system. In addition to Ômicron, other variants of concern are considered: Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.

The Ômicron variant was initially detected in South Africa. According to the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a sample collected on November 9, 2021. The variant quickly spread around the world, dramatically increasing the number of cases of the disease.

Check it out on our podcast: Covid-19 — a pandemic or a syndemic?

What are the symptoms of Omicron?

Covid-19 is a disease whose main symptoms are: tiredness, fever and dry cough. Other symptoms may appear during infection, such as nasal congestion, conjunctivitis, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea and dizziness. The symptoms of the disease vary from one person to another and are also related to the variant.

As far as Omicron is concerned, the Butantan Institute highlights how most common symptoms:

  • extreme tiredness;
  • body aches;
  • headache;
  • sore throat.

It is worth noting that patients infected with Ômicron generally do not report loss of smell or taste, a symptom often felt at the beginning of treatment. pandemic, when other variants were in greater circulation.

How serious is Omicron?

Much is discussed about the severity of cases caused by the Ômicron variant. More data are essential to answer this question, however, in most patients infected with the variant who are vaccinated, a milder picture of the disease is observed. In unvaccinated patients, Ômicron presents greater potential to cause severe disease.

As it is more transmissible, it is important to control the advancement of the variant, which, despite causing fewer deaths, still causes hospitalizations, which can trigger a new collapse of the systems of health.

How to protect yourself from Omicron?

The ways to prevent covid-19 are already well known and should also be adopted for the Ômicron variant; therefore, we must:

A woman and a little boy, wearing face masks, hold a sign together, which reads: “#wear a mask — it saves lives”
The use of a mask also prevents contamination by the Ômicron variant.
  • use good quality masks that are always well adjusted;
  • leave environments always well ventilated;
  • avoid agglomerations;
  • maintain physical distance from other people;
  • wash your hands frequently;
  • get vaccinated (completing the entire vaccination schedule, including the third dose or booster dose).

Videoaula: How can the coronavirus be charged in Enem and other vestibular?

By Vanessa Sardinha dos Santos
Biology teacher

Would you like to reference this text in a school or academic work? Look:

SANTOS, Vanessa Sardinha dos. "Omicron variant of covid-19"; Brazil School. Available in: https://brasilescola.uol.com.br/doencas/variante-omicron-da-covid-19.htm. Accessed on January 26, 2022.

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