One of the strangest and most concerning symptoms of COVID-19 is the loss of taste and smell. This symptom, which can last for weeks to months, has become one of the disease’s most infamous ailments. Does the Omicron variant trigger this condition?
A study conducted by the Health Security Agency in the UK found that only 13% of people with Omicron reported a loss of sense of smell or taste. When the Delta variant was running rampant, 34% of people reported these symptoms. The study found that the most common symptoms of Omicron were a runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, and a sore throat.
The rise of the Omicron variant has been swift, with cases in South Africa, the country where the variant was first discovered, rising from 300 a day to 3,000 within just a couple of weeks after the variant was first spotted last November. Still, as more data appeared, researchers noted that people tended to experience milder cases of the disease. While they continued to experience fatigue and fever, there were also fewer reports of loss of taste and smell.
The appearance of new variants isn’t a surprising thing. While it’s understandable to panic with every new wave, Omicron won’t likely be the last wave we see, especially since there are COVID-19 outbreaks in places all over the world. Though there’s still a lot we don’t know about it, more and more evidence suggests that it’s a departure from the variants we’ve seen in the past. While you may lose your sense of taste and smell, it seems like the odds are lower than they were before.
Getting the vaccine is the clearest way of staying protected against COVID-19. Getting the booster shot as soon as you’re able to is also an efficient way of staying safe and of continuing with your normal life. If infected with the virus, a vaccine and a booster will increase your odds of having a mild disease and preventing hospitalization.
Aside from that, social distancing practices are the next best thing in terms of staying safe; wearing your surgical or KN95 masks and keeping track of the COVID-19 cases in your area will help you have some peace of mind and inform you of what is safe or unsafe in your situation.