As the BA.5 subvariant spreads, here are the early signs of COVID to watch out for – NBC Chicago

While omicron subvariants, such as BA.4 and BA.5, continue to circulate, some studies indicate that they could potentially do a better job of evading existing vaccines and immunity.

According to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the BA.5 lineage of the omicron variant is by far the most common strain in the United States, with the subvariant accounting for 88.7% of cases.

BA.4, another subvariant of omicron, is responsible for 7.5% of infections in the United States.

As more and more infections occur, many are curious about which symptoms appear first and how quickly they can appear.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, early symptoms of COVID-19 usually include fatigue, headache, sore throat or fever. Some patients also experience loss of taste or smell as an early or first symptom.

A study by researchers at the University of Southern California found that fever could be the first in some cases. He revealed that the first symptoms of COVID-19 are most likely a fever, followed by a cough and muscle aches. Afterwards, infected people will likely experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Unlike other respiratory illnesses such as MERS and SARS, patients with COVID-19 will likely develop nausea and vomiting before diarrhea, the researchers found.

Experts warn patients that the severity, or even type, of initial symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.

Digestive symptoms, in some cases, may be the first sign that a person has contracted COVID. They are known to develop early in an infection, with respiratory symptoms possibly following a day later, according to an Emerson Health article.

The CDC says the median time to onset of symptoms in a patient with the different omicron lineages may be as little as three days.

While the BA.5 subvariant tends to cause symptoms similar to other COVID variants, including fever, respiratory issues and more, Chicago’s top doctor says there could be more focus on upper respiratory problems, as the virus tends to linger in the nasal passages and other parts of the respiratory system above the lungs.

Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady previously said patients also tend to see longer-lasting and more widespread symptoms due to the virulence of the BA.5 subvariant.

“Nothing really different I would say, but just more symptoms. It’s a more virulent infection,” she said.

In general, symptoms will usually appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the CDC. Symptoms of the virus include:

– Fever or chills


– Shortness of breath


– Muscle or body pain


-New loss of taste or smell

-Sore throat

– Congestion or runny nose

-Nausea or vomiting


Patients are advised to seek emergency medical attention if they experience:

-Respiratory disorder

– Persistent chest pain or pressure

-New confusion

– Inability to wake up or stay awake

– Pale, gray or blue skin, lips or nail beds

NBC Chicago

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