AS kids go back to school and Omicron is likely to hit the classrooms, every parent should know the signs of the variant.
There are about 20 warning symptoms in adults that are popping up regularly, which are useful to know in children.
But in kids there are a few specific extras that are worth being aware of, incase they need to have a test.
Parents and doctors have reported children with runny noses, low grade fevers, croup, a cough and rashes.
Dr Camilla Kingdon, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “I follow up our most high-risk preterm babies.
“Most of them in my clinic have had Omicron in the last four weeks – or their families have – and none of them have come to any harm.
“In fact, most of the mothers are reporting a runny nose, a little bit off their feet and some low grade fever.
“We need to watch this space but, from around the country at the moment, the picture is a reassuring one.”
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Omicron is widely seen as fairly mild in comparison to Delta, generally producing a cold-like illness, with adults not seeing coughs as often.
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Prof Russell Viner, who works at Great Ormond Street and is a professor at University College London, said: “The average length of stay was really low and almost none of them needed oxygen or other help.
“Around half of them got no treatment at all – they were in hospital for observation.
“A number of them got antibiotics but only because of the way that we treat children with fevers, particularly babies, which is to be very cautious and protect them."
Symptoms of Omicron in children:
- Runny nose
- Croup – a 'barking' cough
- A more usual sounding cough
Explaining the difference between croup and the more classic Covid cough, Dr Buddy Creech told NBC News: "Little kids' airways are so narrow that it takes far less inflammation to clog them."
This is why when youngsters breathe with such inflamed airways, it can easily irritate and spark a cough that sounds like a dog or seal.
Dr Creech said that he and his colleagues have noted "croup-like presentations" in young children positive with Covid, adding "there's that characteristic barking cough".
But another expert, Dr Amy Edwards – who has also noticed an increase in croup-like coughs in children with Covid – said it's less of a worry.
She explained: "As paediatricians, seeing more kids with croup and bronchiolitis is oddly reassuring, because we've been dealing with those conditions for our entire careers.
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"Croup can be scary to hear, but it doesn't mean there is any problem with the lungs.
"The main treatment is to keep the upper airways open and clear until the inflammation subsides."
The 20 most common Omicron symptoms have been revealed – as a major Covid study logs the signs to look out for.
They logged what they were experiencing on the ZOE Covid Study – with the top five remaining as runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and a sore throat.
But other symptoms in the top 20 includes hoarse voice, chills or shivers, brain fog, feeling dizzy, skipped meals and feeling down.
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