HEALTH experts have warned people to seek emergency medical help if they begin to suffer from a disturbing Covid symptom as the Omicron variant continues to surge in the US.
Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds have been listed by the Centers for Disease Control as among the more severe symptoms of the illness that should be considered an emergency warning sign.
Yet it comes as experts reveal that the Covid vaccine and its booster are proving effective in fighting the most severe symptoms and are lowering the risk of hospitalizations and deaths.
Despite evidence that Omicron is more easily spread, Dr Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday that preliminary data suggests it is less severe than the Delta variant.
Vaccine effectiveness & Omicron
Expert studies have shown that the risk of severe illness from Covid-19 is reduced by 90 percent or more among people who are fully vaccinated.
While there are breakthrough cases of Covid among people who are vaccinated, they are rare.
In the event of a breakthrough case, victims are highly unlikely to be hospitalized with severe or deadly symptoms from the virus.
Health officials have advised that the Omicron variant is more infectious and could lead to further breakthrough cases.
Yet the spread can be offset by all vaccinated Americans receiving a booster shot.
Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant.
With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
Studies have also shown that side effects from the vaccine are extremely rare.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Biden administration’s chief medical adviser said he expects this variant to result in relatively fewer hospitalizations.
It reinforced comments from health experts that fully vaccinated people, especially those who receive booster doses, are significantly less likely to end up in hospital.
Omicron has presented some new symptoms that were not previously experienced with other variants.
Runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, and a sore throat remain among the most obvious symptoms.
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However, people are urged to seek immediate medical attention if they also experience trouble breathing, persistent pain in the chest, confusion, and extreme fatigue (inability to stay awake).
And pale, gray, or blue-colored skin has also been added to this list.
The symptom can most likely be attributed to cyanosis, according to 11 Alive, which is caused by a lack of oxygen.
Blood cells turn a dark bluish-red color when they don't have enough oxygen
It can be a sign of a serious medical condition and is often paired with other severe symptoms such as trouble breathing or pain in the chest, according to Mount Sinai.
Cyanosis may also indicate that a patient is having cardiovascular issues or is suffering from lung or heart diseases or blood clots.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh A. Adalja told Prevention in 2020 that it is rare to have cyanosis as a symptom by itself but that it is possible.
'COVID NAILS & TOES'
The symptom differs from Beau's lines or "Covid nails" as it's become more commonly known.
These are dents or ridges that run horizontally across the nails.
They are not considered as a serious symptom, however, and can also be experienced by people under stress or who have trapped their fingers in something.
Cyanosis is also different from “Covid toe" as suffered by NFL star Aaron Rodgers.
"Covid toes are a real condition in which the toes or fingers of a person with Covid-19 become discolored and swollen," said 11 Alive.
"Researchers are still studying the exact cause of the condition."
According to the Cleveland Clinic, Covid toes are a discoloration in the toes of people with Covid-19 that occurs due to small clogs in the person’s blood vessels.
While many people are suffering less severe symptoms from Omicron, some are starting to report that they are vomiting and have a loss of appetite with the illness
Neither were common symptoms before Omicron.
Public health experts are urging Americans to cancel their New Year's Eve celebrations as infections continue to rise.
On Tuesday, it hit an all-time high when the seven-day average of new infections topped 266,000.
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