Since the beginning of the pandemic, the symptoms related to contamination by Covid-19 have sometimes changed. The appearance of new variants is associated with pathologies not described until now by patients affected by an infection. La Dépêche du Midi takes stock with a doctor.
From a sore throat to headaches, to a runny nose… At the time of the epidemiological recovery in France, which coincides with “allergy season”, everything or almost everything raises fears of contagion from Covid- 19. So much so that it is now becoming difficult to differentiate symptoms related to SARS-CoV-2 from conditions related to other seasonal viruses.
All the more difficult since in two years of the pandemic, the symptoms caused by contamination with Covid-19 have changed profoundly, although today, half of those infected develop asymptomatic forms of the disease. the midi office Make the point.
Why have the symptoms linked to Covid-19 evolved?
With the appearance of new variants in recent months, the impact of Covid-19 on organisms has changed profoundly. “Today we have a BA.2 variant, the majority in France, which represents 73% of the cases of contamination that are detected”, describes Dr. Jérôme Marty, a general practitioner in Fronton (Haute-Garonnne) and president of the independent union of doctors. . UFML. The Omicron variant and its subvariant BA.2 will “nest” in the upper respiratory tract, whereas previously the virus affected the bronchi.”
Therefore, the symptoms observed by doctors today are different: “Omicron and BA.2 have a much greater impact on what is called the “ENT” sphere, which includes the face, the ear (internal and external), the nose, paranasal sinuses, mouth and tongue, throat (larynx, trachea, etc.), salivary glands, thyroid, and neck,” summarizes Dr. Marty.
What symptoms are observed today?
“What comes up most often are the throat pain, the headache and one common fatigue“, comments the general practitioner of Frontón. These are frequently accompanied by a dry cough, “laryngeal rather than bronchial” with difficulty swallowing. At first glance, these symptoms resemble angina. However, in the case of contamination with Covid-19, no sign of swelling of the tonsils is seen, “this is the main difference”, specifies the doctor Jérôme Marty.
“difficulty breathingthe loss of smell and you tasteThey are not always mentioned, but “they always exist”, says the doctor. A sign that these symptoms are less frequent than before.
Symptoms that last less?
This is one of the great particularities of the new Omicron and BA.2 variants: the symptomatic period seems shorter than what could be observed with the Alpha and Delta variants. “At that time, the so-called dangerous period in symptoms was said to be between the 7th and 9th day. Today, the symptoms generally last only five days”, describes Jérôme Marty.
More frequent long covids?
The so-called long Covid phenomenon has increased in recent months. People who present symptoms beyond 4 weeks after infection are increasing: “Between 10 and 30% of infected adults develop a covid long, says the general practitioner of Frontón. Those affected develop symptoms that last for months,” ranging from fatiguefor muscle painswhat goes through joint problemsfrom headacheand the dizziness.
In the context of long Covid, “many patients also describe a”brain fog“, says the doctor. They have the impression from time to time of being “in a break” and not being able to think. Of being absent for a few moments and not being able to concentrate”.
What symptom should warn of a serious risk?
The Covid-19 is in this particular that can cause oxygen desaturation in the blood and what is called a “happy hypoxia“: “This happens when a patient does not realize that the rate of oxygenation of his blood is decreasing, sometimes in the space of a few minutes”, describes Jérôme Marty. According to the doctor, this is a sign that can warn of the risk of a severe form of the disease.
This recommends the purchase of a saturation meter, a clamp that is placed on the tip of the finger and that allows to measure the level of oxygen present in the blood.