What to Know: After a steep decline in COVID-19 cases following the Omicron surge in the winter, cases are rising again in the majority of states. This latest uptick is fueled by the Omicron subvariant BA.2, as the virus continues to circulate in New York and throughout the country.
Key Symptoms: Typical symptoms of COVID-19 include headache, sore throat, fever, congestion and runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, severe fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, and a loss of taste and smell, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Dr. Judy Tung, section chief of Adult Internal Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, says that Omicron presents with similar symptoms as the previous variants, though more people experience upper respiratory symptoms (sore throat and congestion) as opposed to lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath), and fewer people seem to lose their senses of taste and smell.
How to Treat It: If you have a mild case, it is important to rest and stay well hydrated, says Dr. Tung. Fever, vomiting, and diarrhea can lead to significant dehydration, which can make you feel worse. Take an over-the-counter fever reducer, such as acetaminophen, every six to eight hours to keep your temperature under 100 degrees. Breathing in the steam during a hot shower can help ease a sore throat and congestion. However, ensure that you are well hydrated and not running a high fever before you do this, advises Dr. Tung. Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications can help, especially if stools are watery and episodes exceed eight to 10 a day. Always consult your physician to tailor your treatment plan.
If you have a more severe case of COVID-19, or are at risk for disease progression, ask your doctor about whether antiviral pills, intravenous antiviral drugs, and antibody treatments might be helpful options for you.