Health

Omicron can lead to gut problems

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Complications in the upper respiratory tract are common after Covid-19, but the new strain seems to be impacting the gut too! Watch out.

Suffering from vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain without fever? It could be due to Omicron infection, and experts say one should get tested for Covid-19 if you have these abdominal complaints even without respiratory symptoms or fever.

Omicron can affect your gut apart from upper respiratory tract and the abdominal symptoms are becoming common in people infected with the new strain. Even people who are vaccinated are experiencing these new symptoms.

Some of the new symptoms of Covid-19 include nausea, abdominal ache, vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhoea.

“The people may initially present with abdominal symptoms without any respiratory complaints. The presenting complaints could be back ache, abdominal ache, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhoea. This could be due to Omicron infecting the gut mucosa and the resulting inflammation,” says Dr Manoj Goel, Director, Pulmonology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram.

The expert says that even though double-vaccinated people are also coming forward with complaints of abdominal issues, these symptoms are not adverse and not of much concern.

omicron
Stay safe from Covid-19. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Do not pass off abdominal pain, nausea and loss of appetite as a normal flu, if you have symptoms, isolate yourself. Avoid self-medication including so-called safe Ayurvedic treatment without consulting your doctor. Try and maintain good hydration, eat frequent, small, wholesome and light meals including nuts. Avoid spicy food and alcohol. Symptoms if mild might not be of concern,” says Dr Goel.

“One should test for Covid if you have abdominal complaints even without respiratory symptoms or fever as this could be due to Omicron infection,” he added.

Tips to manage gut symptoms like nausea and vomiting if you are infected with Omicron, as per the expert

* People should eat fresh cooked food maintaining good hand hygiene.

* Avoid sharing meals with others.

* Avoid eating outside food and even if you are vaccinated, maintain all covid safety protocol.

masks for protection
Wear masks to guard yourself. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Omicron, the latest variant of concern, is spreading fast as scientists across the world conduct studies to understand it better, and is likely to become a dominant strain soon. The variant not only spreads more efficiently than Delta variant, causing mostly mild disease, but is also said to be capable of reinfecting people who have had Covid infection previously or even double vaccinated.

As per experts, the symptoms of Omicron mimic features of common flu and affects upper respiratory tract. According to Centre for Disease Control (CDC), some of the common symptoms associated with Omicron are cough, fatigue, congestion and runny nose. Scientists have also noted that loss of smell and taste appear to be less common among people recently testing positive for this latest strain.

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