Tags: covid | flirt | variant | symptoms | severe | sinus | sore throat

New COVID Variant FLiRT Causing Severe Symptoms

healthcare worker holding a COVID test
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 09 July 2024 10:07 AM EDT

Patients are reporting severe symptoms from the current COVID-19 subvariants, collectively named FLiRT, that account for about 70% of new cases this summer. Some are experiencing extreme sinus pressure and headache, painful sore throats, and “uncontrollable body-shaking chills,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Experts say that this reality challenges the myth that each COVID-19 infection is milder than the last.

“The dogma is that every time you get COVID, it’s milder,” says Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UC San Francisco infectious diseases expert. “But I think we need to keep our minds open to the possibility that some people have worse symptoms.” It’s like playing “COVID roulette,” he says.

While others report that each bout with COVID-19 has been easier to recover from, studies warn that each infection can lead to additional health risks, increasing medical problems, hospitalizations and deaths. The risk of getting long COVID also increases each time a person has COVID-19.

Chin-Hong said one reason people might be repeatedly infected is that a long gap from immunization and previous infection may lessen immune memory. Since the variants have also changed, “it’s like getting exposed to something different from what virus the immune system had seen earlier,” he added.

While prior immunity from old vaccine shots can still prevent people from becoming seriously ill, we still need a “refresher” from updated vaccines to help neutralize the current virus, said the expert.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report in February saying that the updated 2023-2024 shot called monovalent XBB.1.5 provides about 54% increased protection against COVID-19 compared to not getting the vaccine.

Chin-Hong urges people who didn’t get the latest shot to do so, especially if you are older and immune compromised, as we are still experiencing hundreds of deaths nationally every week. He says that getting the shot now will not exclude you vaccination with the new 2024-2025 COVID-19 shot that will be available this fall. A good time to get that shot is in October, he advised.

The expert reminds us that while people may be thinking that COVID-19 is now a normal part of our healthcare landscape, it’s still wise to exercise caution such as staying home when you are sick and keeping a mask handy in case you encounter someone who is ill. This can make a huge difference in staying healthy and keeping infection rates down.

Lynn C. Allison

Lynn C. Allison, a Newsmax health reporter, is an award-winning medical journalist and author of more than 30 self-help books.

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


Health-News
Patients are reporting severe symptoms from the current COVID-19 subvariants, collectively named FLiRT, that account for about 70% of new cases this summer. Some are experiencing extreme sinus pressure and headache, painful sore throats, and "uncontrollable body-shaking...
covid, flirt, variant, symptoms, severe, sinus, sore throat, chills
398
2024-07-09
Tuesday, 09 July 2024 10:07 AM
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