Prevention

Doctors Reveal #1 Symptom of New COVID Variants

We all know that respiratory diseases like the coronavirus spread more easily during the fall and winter months when traveling and indoor gatherings are at their peak. However, COVID-19 is not limited to these seasons; it can be caught year-round. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show an increase in positive COVID test rates due to the new FLiRT variants. Doctors are now sharing the top symptom to watch out for.

Nicknamed FLiRT, this new set of COVID variants consists of three different strains: KP.1.1, KP.2, and KP.3. These are offshoots of the omicron variant and currently account for over 50 percent of new infections. This rapid spread indicates that these variants are highly contagious.

As of June 25, the CDC’s U.S. epidemic growth forecast map estimates that COVID infections are “growing or likely growing in 44 states.” This marks a significant increase from the previous week’s forecast of 39 states.

“We have seen COVID surges every summer since the onset of the pandemic, but this one seems to be starting earlier in the summer than previous surges,” Ashley L. Drews, MD, an epidemiologist at Houston Methodist, told Parade. “We are likely seeing a surge right now as the most widely circulating variants, the FLiRT variants, have mutated and further evaded the immune system, coupled with waning immunity in general.”

By now, most of us are familiar with basic COVID symptoms such as body aches, fatigue, and persistent coughing. However, with the surge in COVID cases and the expected increase in travel and large social gatherings, doctors say it’s more important than ever to pay attention to our bodies. Specifically, if you start to feel the beginnings of a sore throat, you should be vigilant. Health experts are identifying this as the number one symptom of the surging FLiRT variants.

In conclusion, while the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19 typically increases during colder months, the new FLiRT variants are causing a rise in cases even during the summer. With these variants being highly contagious, it is crucial to recognize and respond to symptoms early. The primary symptom to watch for is a sore throat, signaling a possible infection with one of these new strains. As we navigate through these times, staying informed and cautious is key to maintaining our health and safety.

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