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28th Dec 2021

The Omicron early warning sign you can hear before you feel

Kieran Galpin

Lateral Flow

‘Throat swab + nasal may improve chances a swab picks up virus’

Research has shown that you may hear the first signs of Omicron before you feel the standard symptoms experienced with the latest Covid variant.

While you might be on the lookout for a loss of your senses, you may in fact be barking up the wrong tree. It is believed that the first sign of Omicron infection could be a change in your voice.

The variant, which was first detected in November, is said to inflict a scratchy throat on those unlucky enough to contract it, reports Birmingham Live.

Other symptoms include those usually associated with a common cold, including sore throats, headaches, aching muscles, and a runny nose.

This comes amid growing concerns over how we are using lateral flow tests (LFTs).

Professor Jennifer Rohn suggested including throat swabs in your testing regiment as it’s believed the virus is more easily detectable in your throat at the start of infection.

Tweeting an image of a positive LFT, Rohn said: “Well, there it is. Today, with the “wrong” (i.e. cold) symptoms and after a string of negative LFTs, I finally took Twitter advice and swabbed my throat as well as my nose (no mean feat with that diddly stick). If you think you might have COVID, consider adding the throat sample.”

These sentiments were echoed by Dr Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard, reports Wales Online.

He said: “Symptoms are starting very early with Omicron. This means that there is a chance the virus isn’t yet growing in the nose when you first test [as the] virus may start further down. Throat swab + nasal may improve chances a swab picks up virus.”

This comes as Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced there would be no further restrictions before the new year.

In a tweet, Johnson said: “We will continue to monitor the data carefully, but there will be no new restrictions introduced in England before the New Year.”

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