Hangover or Covid? How to tell if you've overindulged or caught Omicron

IF you're feeling a bit ropey this morning after a night on the booze then it's more than likely you have a hangover.

But with research showing that Omicron is a milder illness, there is also a possibility that you have caught the mutant strain.

A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

If you've got symptoms of Omicron, it's likely they won't be the same to those Covid signs outlined by the NHS.

The NHS states that a new persistent cough, a loss of taste and smell and a high temperature are all symptoms of Covid-19.

But experts say that people who have contracted Omicron are more likely to suffer cold-like symptoms.

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Do I have Omicron?

New data from the ZOE Covid Symptom Study has shone a light on the most common signs of the Omicron strain.

Losing your appetite is probably among the worst things to happen to you over Christmas when a plentiful roast is in front of you – among dozens more treats.

The study compared symptoms reported by people that had tested positive for either the Delta or Omicron variants.

Experts said: “Contributor reports also identified loss of appetite and brain fog as common symptoms.

“These findings line up with a small batch of data from contributors who reported that their positive PCR results were suspected or confirmed Omicron infections.”

The analysis found no clear differences between Delta and Omicron when it came to typical infection.

The main symptoms of the virus in both strains were estimated to be:

  1. Runny nose
  2. Headache
  3. Fatigue (mild or severe)
  4. Sneezing
  5. Sore throat

Do I have a hangover?

Signs of Omicron, including extreme fatigue or tiredness, a headache and muscle aches can “all be confused with a hangover”, as can a scratchy throat (“rather than a sore throat”). 

So after a night of boozing, it may be tougher than you might expect telling whether it's the alcohol still swilling around your system making you feel rough, rather than the virus.

The key, says London GP, Dr Adam Caputa, is how long your ‘hangover’ symptoms stick around for.

“After 24 hours or so, we would normally expect a hangover to settle and all symptoms to clear – so if this persists, we’re looking at it more likely being an Omicron infection.”

“If rest and a takeaway and lying on the sofa improve your symptoms,” he adds, “it's probably not Omicron.”

Crucially, you need to take note of any “additional symptoms” on top of what your hangovers usually feel like.

“Listen to your body and think, ‘Does this feel like a hangover I've had before?’ 

“Because with so many cases out there at the moment, and symptoms often presenting subtly, it's really prudent to think about testing and isolating if you have a combination of symptoms together,” says Adam.

“So if you're really tired with a headache and you've also got a fever and cough, for example, then self isolate and do a PCR.”

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