Omicron symptoms: The key sign present in new variant and how to check your risk at home

Omicron variant 'will dominate Delta before Christmas' says expert

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Emergence of the new strain caused serious concern at the World Health Organisation (WHO). Experts suggested that Omicron was more easily transmitted from person to person than the Delta strain. To help stop any potential spread, being vigilant of any new and unusual symptoms is key including those found in changes to your heart rate.

A COVID-19 infection is known to cause damage to the heart muscle affecting its function.

There are several reasons for this explains John Hopkins Medicine.

“The cells in the heart have angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2) receptors where the coronavirus attaches before entering cells.

“Heart damage can also be due to high levels of inflammation circulating in the body.

“As the body’s immune system fights off the virus, the inflammatory process can damage some healthy tissues, including the heart.”

The virus is also known to affect the inner surfaces of veins and arteries, which can cause blood vessel inflammation, damage to very small vessels and blood clots, all of which can compromise blood flow to the heart or other parts of the body.

“After you have had COVID-19, if you are experiencing a rapid heartbeat or palpitations, you should contact your doctor.

“A temporary increase in heart rate can be caused by a lot of different things, including dehydration.

“Make sure you are drinking enough fluids, especially if you have a fever.”


Symptoms of palpitations can include:

  • Feeling your heartbeat rapidly or irregularly in your chest
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, especially upon standing
  • Chest discomfort.

How to check yours

  • Rest and relax for five minutes before checking your heart rate
  • Feel your pulse using your index and middle fingers (not your thumb) – press lightly against the inner side of your wrist near the base of your thumb or on the outer side of your windpipe under your jaw
  • Count the number of pulse beats you feel for 60 seconds, or count the beats for 30 seconds and multiply it by two – this is your heart rate in beats per minute
  • Feel the rhythm of your pulse for 30 seconds – a regular rhythm is normal. If you’re uncertain, tap out the rhythm on a table as you feel it.

Normal resting heart rate is considered to be between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm).

In less than two weeks, Covid infections of the new strain appeared in dozens of countries.

Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, told the BBC that she started to see patients with “unusual symptoms” that differed slightly from those associated with the Delta variant.

Common early symptoms reported have included fatigue, muscle aches, dry cough and scratchy throat but another symptom has been highlighted of palpitations.

David O’Connor, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at University of Wisconsin-Madison, told Reuters via email there had not been enough time or cases to know if the Omicron variant presents any different symptoms.

“What has been widely recirculated are a few expert views based on an analysis of only a very small number of cases,” O’Connor said.

“Doctors and scientists need more time to know if or how Omicron severity is different.”

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