Omicron Or A Common Cold? A Doctor Explains What To Do If You're Not Sure

"It's very difficult to tell the difference.”

Western Canada Editor
Omicron Or A Common Cold? A Doctor Explains What To Do If You're Not Sure

A top doctor in B.C. explained what to do if you're not sure if you have the Omicron variant or just a common cold.

Especially in mild cases, the symptoms can be similar — such as a headache and runny nose — so it can be hard to tell what you have.

B.C. has also faced issues with testing availability, with the province triaging tests to those who need them. In December, videos showed people waiting in long lines to get access to testing. Without the test, it's hard to be sure that your symptoms are in fact COVID-19.

Dr. Bonnie Henry had some answers though, during a town hall on January 10, which was live-streamed by Global BC.

“Early on it's very difficult to tell the difference," between a cold and infection by the Omicron variant, she said.

She explained that the Omicron variant gives many people mild symptoms, like a runny nose and sneezing. She added though that "we are also seeing that younger people also get the headaches, muscle aches, and feeling tired and rundown."

With the testing concerns that the province is dealing with, and how fast the variant is spreading, it's best to stay away from other people if you have any symptoms, Henry explained.

It's especially important to keep your distance from anyone who is at a higher risk of illness, she said.

"We know now, as well, that this is a shorter duration of illness, especially in people who are vaccinated," said Henry.

Because of this, she said that isolating for five days is the best thing to do, as well as wearing a mask around other people.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

Morgan Leet
Western Canada Editor
Morgan Leet is the Western Canada Editor for Narcity Canada's Western Desk focused on interprovincial travel, and is based in Vancouver.
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