I'm a Doctor and Here are Unusual New COVID Variant Signs I'm Seeing Now
Doctors reveals the signs, symptoms, and characteristics of EG.5 to look out for.
It's official: The new COVID-19 variant, EG.5, also called Eris, is currently the dominant strain. While the W.H.O. has stated that, based on the available evidence, "the public health risk posed by EG.5 is evaluated as low at the global level," the total number of people testing positive as well as hospitalizations have increased in recent weeks. While there are many similarities between the new strain and previous ones, there are a few specific symptoms – including a few that are unusual – to look out for, according to doctors.
In a new viral TikTok clip, Jessica Kiss, MD, who regularly shares videos about the virus, revealed one of the most surprising symptoms. "Weird symptom I am seeing right now when patients are Covid positive, and I don't know if Covid is causing it, but I can't say that it's not," she says. "By now, I don't have to tell you that Covid is a virus and the common cold is a virus. So things we see with colds, we are seeing with Covid more and more, but this time around, I'm seeing patients actually have a viral rash," she said. Many people commented on the post, attesting to having experienced itchiness, redness, and discomfort in the form of a rash.
While "severe back and neck pain," have been common with all strains, "back and neck pain with weakness," is something he calls a "red flag" symptom. "It means always go to the hospital."
Another scary symptom of the new strain? If you experience difficulty swallowing, "go to the hospital," Barnett says.
Gastrointestinal symptoms to look out for? Severe nausea, heartburn, and loss of appetite, says Barnett.
Rhonda Johnson, MD, explains in a TikTok that sore throat is a common symptom of the variant. Dr. Kiss added in an additional video that "fatigue paired with mild sore throat" are generally the first symptoms patients are experiencing. Eventually, it progresses to a "major sore throat" and the fatigue "actually gets worse.
Johnson states that EG.5 does appear to be more transmissible" than other variants, "meaning contagious because it's been spreading so fast around the world."
Another symptom that is more common with the new strain than those over the past few years. "Some people are reporting an altered sense of smell," she says.
"Symptoms usually start pretty mild, but between like day three and five, people seem to be getting pretty sick," Dr. Kiss says.
Dr. Kiss also maintains that there is a unique feature of the strain. People seem to be staying sick longer than other variants.