Dr Nighat discusses symptoms of new Covid strain
The UK saw a rise in Covid cases this summer spurred on by the arrival of two new strains of the disease – Eris and Pirola.
Like many of the other mutations of the infection that came before, they can affect people differently to previous strains including the types of symptoms they cause.
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, Doctor Nighat Arif shared some tell-tale signs of the Pirola strain to look for – and how to distinguish it from flu.
She acknowledged that both Covid and the flu can cause people to experience a high temperature, runny nose and a headache.
“Could they be flu, could they be just the common cold or could they be Covid?” she said.
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Dr Nighat said there are other symptoms that can help differentiate between the illnesses.
She explained: “So we know they’ve [symptoms] changed.
“So with the new variant, the Pirola variant, we know that not only do you get temperature, runny nose, a headache, we still have that loss of sense of smell, but you might actually get diarrhoea with it.”
Stomach cramps can also appear with the Pirola strain, she said.
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However, she warned of a specific symptom that has been a “huge part” of the Pirola variant – fatigue.
“We’re seeing people who are just feeling shattered,” she added.
She advised that in the majority of cases the Pirola strain is “not severe enough” to cause hospitalisation.
However, she did warn that vaccines and previous infections might not offer the same level of protection as they once did.
Dr Nighat said: “It’s [Pirola] got 30 different mutations on it and because it’s got those different mutations it means we think it’s being slightly sneaky and getting away in our communities.
“And so it could be bypassing people’s immune system, which makes them feel slightly poorly, but it could be bypassing our vaccine.
“So that normal vaccination that we’ve been asking people to have, it’s probably making them feel slightly sicker.”
What to do if you experience symptoms
Firstly Dr Nighat advised using a lateral flow test if possible to confirm whether your symptoms are Covid or not.
She also recommended:
- Keeping your home well ventilated
- Practising good hand washing
- Staying home for five days if possible.
To help curb the spread of infection she also said we should consider wearing a mask or scarf over your face when mixing with others and getting vaccinated if eligible.
She added: “It’s about being vigilant and also still being mindful that we’re having conversations like this and bringing up the fact that Covid is still with us.
“And although we need to learn to live alongside that, we need to keep those that are vulnerable in our communities really protected because we are part of a bigger community and it is these vulnerable individuals that we need to make sure don’t get sick enough to end up needing hospitalisation.”
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