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Symptoms of Omicron: warning sign of Covid variant infection on skin, lips and nails

Omicron tends to cause symptoms that differ from the traditional signs of Covid-19 listed by the NHS

Symptoms of the Omicron Covid-19 variant have been found to differ slightly from previous strains, which can make infection more difficult to spot.

While the NHS lists a high temperature, a new continuous cough, and a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell as the three main symptoms of coronavirus, these signs are less common among people infected with Omicron.

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Instead, Omicron has been found to cause symptoms which are very similar to the common cold, but health experts are now warning of a more unusual sign of infection that can affect your skin, lips or nails.

Omicron may cause the skin, lips or nail beds to develop a pale, grey or blue-coloured tinge (Composite: Mark Hall / JPIMedia)

What effect does Omicron have on the skin, lips and nails?

People infected with Omicron may notice that their skin, lips or nail beds may develop a pale, grey or blue-coloured tinge, according to health experts at the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

This symptom is thought to be a result of low oxygen levels in the body.

The CDC describes the symptoms as an “emergency warning sign” of Covid-19 infection and advises people to seek advice from their GP if they notice such a change in colour.

Other emergency signs listed by the CDC include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, and the inability to wake or stay awake.

What are the key warning signs of Omicron?

Studies have so far suggested that the Omicron variant appears to cause milder illness than previous Covid-19, with the main symptoms being very similar in nature to a common cold.

The most commonly reported symptoms, according to the ZOE symptoms tracker app, include:

  • Fatigue
  • Body aches and pains
  • Scratchy throat 
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing

However, other symptoms have also been reported, including night sweats, dry cough, nausea, fever, headache, skin rashes and sore eyes.

For most people, symptoms should last for around five days before clearing up.

If your symptoms do not improve and you are concerned, you can get advice from the NHS online, or by calling 111.

If you feel unwell and you have symptoms you should take a Covid-19 PCR test, even if your symptoms are mild, and self-isolate at home until you get your results.

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