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El Paso infectious disease doctor weighs in on Omicron variant, flu, common cold


EL PASO, Texas -- A local infectious disease doctor is weighing on the Omicron variant and what we know so far.

Dr. Armando Meza, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, says the Omicron variant is responsible for most new infections in the U.S. in the last few days. 

As for knowing which variant you have, Dr. Meza says, “It is difficult to differentiate one from the other, except the severe symptoms like the high fevers and the shortness of breath are less likely to happen with the Omicron variant.”

Dr. Meza said that it is likely that if one member of a household becomes infected, everyone else in that household could also become infected. And the chances increase if a person has not been vaccinated and has not previously had COVID-19. 

"The good news about the Omicron variant is that the symptoms are less severe than the other variants," Meza said.

And for those who have been vaccinated, he says the symptoms will be even less severe. "There is some degree of protection from getting those vaccines," Meza said.

According to Dr. Meza, there aren't many available options to know which variant a person may have. However, he says that if cases continue to rapidly increase in the community, the Omicron variant could be to blame.

Dr. Meza says that there is no way that patient will be able to tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19.

However, he says that we do know that flu symptoms are shorter in their duration than COVID-19. And a person with COVID-19 will be symptomatic for a longer period of time. 

As for viruses, Dr. Meza says that there are many viruses in the community including COVID-19, the common cold and influenza.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Rosemary Montañez

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