I'm a GP and these are the Omicron symptoms no parent should ever ignore
CASES of Omicron are increasing and Covid-19 cases have reached record highs in the UK.
But experts have warned that Omicron could present differently in children in comparison to other strains of coronavirus.
The three main symptoms of coronavirus outlined by the NHS are a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell.
If you have any of these symptoms you should take a test immediately in order to avoid spreading the virus.
In light of the Omicron variant, medics have urged the NHS to update the symptoms list to include new symptoms so that people can get the help they need.
Boosters are being rolled out to all adults in order to beat Omicron – but vaccines have not yet been given to children, who have so far displayed 'mild symptoms'.
Speaking to The Sun Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of Patientaccess.com said the reason we haven’t vaccinated kids is because they get mild disease and there is no evidence that that is any different with Omicron.
She explained that it’s important parents recognise that with kids and with them getting ill that they shouldn't be too worried.
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"It’s much less likely to happen to kids than to happen to you.The big issue with kids is that unfortunately they have a habit of cuddling.
"Data that’s just come out of South Africa suggest that the vast majority don’t end up in hospital.
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"They have mild symptoms, such as a sore throat – stuffy nose, headache, fever and it goes away in three days."
Dr Sarah said that in South Africa there are more children being admitted to hospital, but said that it is still a 'miniscule number'.
"The data is looking reassuring and similar to what it has for other variants – but kids are good at spreading infection.If you have it then the whole family should be isolating.
"Don’t worry about them getting ill but bare in mind that it’s easy for them to spread illness", she said.
Dr Amir Khan said that Omicron symptoms that are coming out of South Africa, by the doctors that are looking after patients with Omicron, show these five new symptoms.
Speaking ITV's Lorraine he explained: "A scratchy throat, mild muscle aches, extreme tiredness, a dry cough and night sweats.
"So those kind of drenching night sweats where you might have to get up and change your clothes."
Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association said that the main symptoms she had seen in young people were fatigue, headache and body aches.
Dr Coetzee described one “very interesting case” of a six-year-old girl who had “a temperature and a very high pulse rate".
These may be signs to look out for in your child – however this is just one anecdotal case.
The Omicron symptoms being seen in children
Experts say that kids who are contracting Omicron are still having mild illness.
Here are the symptoms that kids have experienced so far:
- sore throat
- stuffy nose
- body aches
- High pulse rate (one case)
Omicron appears to be milder than previous circulating coronavirus, the World Health Organization says, causing it to cause more cold-like symptoms.
This could be a result of vaccination – and children under 12 have not received jabs in the UK.
However, kids as young as five are reportedly set to be given Covid jabs as the fight against the Omicron variant ramps up – with the NHS "preparing for a mass vaccine drive" in schools.
Data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) yesterday revealed the cases of Covid are highest in those aged 5 to 9, with a weekly rate of 1021.4 per 100,000 population.
The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a weekly rate of 69.5 per 100,000 population.
One expert said there is 'no reason' as to why children shouldn't be receiving their vaccines, as is the case in the US and France.
Virologist and Professor of Molecular Oncology, Professor Lawrence Young said while there are a small number of children being hospitalised with the virus in South Africa, we should be cautious with the data.
He said: "It is still a small number, and this could be down to something specific with the population, other infections, ethnicity, there are lots of things it could be down to.
"We do have a number of kids being hospitalised in this country and to some extent we seem to be ignoring the fact that kids are getting sick.
"People say it doesn’t affect kids and that’s not true. A number of us have been concerned for a while and in the US and France they have been jabbing kids for a while.
"They are seeing no ill effects. They are given a smaller dose of the MRNA vaccine and it’s not only about putting protection around them, it’s their education too."
Prof Young said long Covid is also a worry in children as it's 'complex and is compiled of a variety of symptoms'.
He said: "There is no reason we shouldn’t be vaccinating children and using jabs in that age group.
"We need to keep an eye on the data and ultimately all groups need to be protected.
"It’s a shame we haven’t been more vigorous in that group with things like ventilation in schools and masks.
"Kids catch it and then spread it to adult groups", he added.
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