Monday, 16 May 2022

Omicron: The ‘noticeable’ sign of the strain appearing in people’s hair post-infection

PMQs: May says 'omicron is less serious than previous variants'

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The recent wave of Omicron has racked the UK, but scientists are positive current countermeasures will safeguard the nation. Having worked at full tilt to characterise the variant, researchers have established that a string of symptoms help it stand out from its predecessors. Generally speaking, these include night sweats, a scratchy throat and muscle pain. In the months that follow an infection, however, those infected with Omicron may notice changes in their hair too.

Evidence is growing that Omicron is less likely to cause severe illness, but undesirable side effects may strike further down the line.

Some of the symptoms specific to the variant include a scratchy throat, muscle aches and night sweats.

Conversely, reports of common complications associated with COVID-19, such as loss of smell and taste, have become rare.

But in recent developments, hair loss has now also been linked to Omicron.

READ MORE: Omicron symptoms timeline: The 8 Omicron symptoms and when you’ll get them

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, hair shedding is a common symptom after infection with COVID-19.

It occurs when more hair follicles enter their “shedding” phase post-fever, the complication is believed to be a normal occurrence after fever.

The health body explains: “Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19. A few months after having a high fever or recovering from an illness, many people see noticeable hair loss.

“While many people think of this as hair loss, it’s actually hair shedding.

“The medical name for this type of hair shedding is telogen effluvium [which] happens when more hairs than normal enter the shedding (telogen) phases of the hair growth life cycle at the same time.

“A fever or illness can force more hairs into the shedding phase.”

Reports suggest hair loss is more likely to occur near the end of illness with Omicron.

Fever is a common symptom of Omicron, and is often accompanied by swollen glands, and eye soreness.

High temperature has in fact been considered one of the most important symptoms of COVID-19 since its emergence.

It is also one of the symptoms that distinguish the virus from the common cold, alongside chills, and a headache.

Thankfully, the World Health Organisation is seeing growing evidence that the symptoms of Omicron are milder than the previous variant.

But studies to date have shown that each infection with the strain produces at least three more – a trend comparable to the first wave of the pandemic.

Hopes of flattening the curve on the infection now hinge on whether the vaccine is able to withstand the 35 mutations in the strain’s spike protein.

Generally speaking, those who have completed a course of COVID-19 vaccines are protected from symptomatic infection with the strain.

It comes as the Prime Minister announced earlier this week that skipping “balanced measures” would help outpace rising cases of Omicron.

Boris Johnson told the Commons: “So in response to the latest data, the Cabinet agreed this morning that we should stick with Plan B for another three weeks, with a further review before the regulations expire on 26 January.”

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