Are headaches a symptom of the new variant of COVID?

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We are almost a year into the coronavirus pandemic here in the UK, and at this point we would probably all be supporting each other to get some sort of qualification on the key symptoms of COVID-19. The most common signs of the dangerous virus are a high temperature, another continuous cough, and a loss or change in your sense of smell or taste – but these are not the only indicators you might have caught.

As we are well aware, in the last months of last year, a new variant of COVID started to spread in the UK. It’s believed to be much more transmissible than the original virus, and researchers are still trying to find out if there are any other characteristics we should know about. So far, it appears that the symptoms of the new variant are much the same as those of the primary virus. However, there has been anecdotal evidence that headaches are a particular symptom that people notice with the new variant.

On Twitter there is lots of discussion on headaches increasingly showing up as a sign of COVID. “The new COVID variant has a different symptom profile. No loss of smell and taste, but headaches like eye strain and then pounding temples. Also back pain,” one person wrote. “Our experience in a new variant hotspot at the moment is that the first symptoms are headache and nausea,” shared another.

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On the World Health Organization website, a headache is listed as one of the “less common” symptoms of coronavirus, along with diarrhea, rash, body aches, pain, etc. So what does a UK-based doctor think about the suggestion that headaches could be an indicator of the new variant?

“There have been a few studies that have previously linked headaches to the virus. However, more research still needs to be done to determine whether headaches are a primary symptom of any virus mutations,” Dr Samantha Wild, general practitioner at Bupa UK tells Cosmopolitan.We’re still learning a lot about these new variants, ”she adds.

the current guidelines do not recommend doing a test based solely on a headache, so Dr Wild advises to ‘continue to monitor your symptoms and check the NHS website for any updates’, for anyone who is currently suffering from headaches, but nothing else. “If you’re having a severe headache without any other symptoms, it may be worth seeing a GP. They can be linked to many different conditions, so a doctor can help you diagnose the cause, ”she suggests, adding,“ You can also call 111 if you are not sure or worried about the symptoms you are having. introduce. “

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The doctor reiterates that the main symptoms of COVID currently apply to any variant of the virus. “At this time, the key symptoms of any strain of COVID-19 remain the same: a continuous cough (coughing heavily for over an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours), a temperature, and a loss of taste or smell, “she says. “If you see a doctor because of these symptoms, it’s worth discussing other issues, such as headaches, at the same time.

Dr Wild also points out that headaches are commonly experienced by people with long COVID (where you have had the virus and you are still experiencing symptoms). “These can vary in severity and duration,” she says, urging those who think they might have COVID Long to seek advice from their doctor.

What do we know about the new COVID-19 variant?

All viruses – like the coronavirus – undergo genetic changes, called mutations. The COVID-19 mutation which has been identified in the United Kingdom has “many different mutations”, explains the doctor.

“Several of these mutations involve changes in the protein that the virus uses to attach to the surface of human cells. Changes in this part of the protein can – in theory – cause the virus to become more infectious and to spread more easily between people, “says Dr Wild, adding that there is” no evidence that one of these variants of the coronavirus causes more serious illness ”.

The most important thing to remember is to follow government guidelines to protect yourself and others from the capture and spread of the coronavirus. Stay home unless you are going for one of the permitted exemptions (including outdoor exercise, seeking medical attention, working in a job that cannot be done at home, etc.) and every time you leave the house, be sure to wear a mask, social distances, and hand hygiene. “These measures should make the virus less likely to change,” notes Dr. Wild.

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It goes without saying that if you are not feeling well and experiencing any of the common symptoms, you should self-isolate and organize a coronavirus test.

The doctor adds that in addition to protecting ourselves physically, we should also protect ourselves mentally. “If you’re feeling anxious, pause for a few deep breaths and accept that your anxiety is going away. It can be helpful to write down a list of the things on your mind and talk to someone you trust. Opening up to your loved ones about how you are feeling can be a great relief. Otherwise, talking to your doctor can help. Support is always available. “

The information in this story is accurate as of the date of publication. As we try to keep our content as up to date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it is possible that some information and recommendations have changed since their publication. For any concerns and final advice, visit World Health Organization. If you are in the UK, the National health service can also provide useful information and assistance, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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