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With the highly infectious omicron variant of covid-19 tearing through the country, it’s vital that we test regularly, and keep alert to any new symptoms.
Much like the previous strains of coronavirus that came before it, the main symptoms to be aware of are the usual high temperature, a persistent cough and loss of taste and smell.
However, the omicron variant (which is thankfully milder than its predecessors) has also been linked to some more unusual and rare side effects.
One of the less commonly known symptoms of omicron is fainting and dizzy spells.
Doctors in Berlin are thought to have found a link between covid infection and fainting, according to German newspaper Ärztezeitung.
After a 35-year-old in the German capital was admitted to hospital for recurrent fainting spells, doctors found he was testing positive for covid-19 – with the infection thought to be triggering the dizziness and feelings of being lightheaded.
This is not the first time that fainting has been linked to coronavirus. Research from Italy, Spain and Portugal found that from over 14,000 covid patients, 4.2 per cent reported fainting or the feeling of impending unconsciousness in the early stages of infection.
Feeling faint is something that has also been associated with long covid – defined as someone who continues to suffer from coronavirus symptoms for over 12 weeks.
However, those who are anxious about falling sick with covid needn't be too worried, as fainting as a symptom of the omicron variant is quite uncommon.
Talking to Tyla, clinical director and superintendent pharmacist at Medicine Direct, Hussain Abdeh, explained: "Fainting spells have not been classified as typical symptoms of covid, and they seem to be affecting people over the age of 60 the most.
"Covid can cause some people to feel extremely fatigued; extreme tiredness or weakness can lead to fainting. When this is paired with a respiratory problem like covid, it could mean that people are not getting enough oxygen, which is another cause of fainting."
If you do feel a dizzy spell coming on, there are ways to avoid collapsing and potentially injuring yourself.
"If you faint, you should rest and make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated," Hussain said. "Covid sufferers should be isolating at home anyway, so if fainting does occur you should lie down until the faintness goes away. Lying down helps blood to travel to the brain. Lie on your back with your legs slightly raised so that they are higher than your head.
"It is important to eat a sufficient amount each day too, as not eating enough can also cause people to feel faint. This can be difficult if covid has changed your sense of taste, but you should keep eating, nonetheless.
"You should also focus on your breathing and concentrate on taking deep breaths in and out. This helps to make sure there is enough oxygen being carried to the brain and can also serve to calm you down; fainting can be a scary feeling for some as you lose control over your balance, and your perception can also become distorted.”
The most common signs of Omicron infection are a scratchy throat, runny nose and sneezing, with mild muscle pains and fatigue also common symptoms.
However, some omicron patients have also thought to have developed two types of rash after catching the virus.
One, reported to be similar to prickly heat, appears to be itchy and bumpy, while the other is reported to be similar to hives.
You can read more about that, and how to treat them, here.
Call NHS 111 if you are unsure about any of your symptoms, or visit the NHS page for more information abour coronavirus.
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