The BA.5 variant of Covid-19 has taken center stage in the UK, surpassing Omicron with a peculiar nighttime symptom.
Unwelcome Nocturnal Symptom
The newly emerged BA.5 variant, considered a “sibling” of the previously dominant Omicron, has been causing a stir with its unique symptom: night sweats. While sharing common symptoms with its predecessor, this unexpected addition has left infected individuals puzzled.
Dominance and Spread
BA.5’s ascent to dominance began several weeks ago when it overtook Omicron in the Covid-19 variant race. Presently, it accounts for approximately 65 percent of Covid cases in the US, according to the CDC, and is suspected to reach similar levels in the UK.
Similar Severity, Enhanced Transmissibility
Scientists speculate that, like Omicron, BA.5 may lead to fewer severe cases and deaths compared to previous strains such as Alpha and Delta. However, its enhanced transmissibility remains a concern, with emerging evidence suggesting a higher potential for reinfection among patients.
Genetic Changes and Immune Response
Professor Luke O’Neill, a biochemistry expert at Trinity College Dublin, explains that genetic changes in the virus and variations in the way our immune system responds to the infection contribute to the different disease manifestations. This interplay results in night sweats emerging as a distinctive symptom of BA.5.
A Look at Common Symptoms
According to the ZOE Covid Study app, individuals who have received two or more vaccine doses frequently report symptoms such as a runny nose, headache, sneezing, sore throat, and a persistent cough.
Understanding Night Sweats
The NHS defines night sweats as excessive sweating during sleep, leading to drenched nightwear and bedding, even in a cool sleeping environment. While BA.5 introduces this unusual symptom, it’s essential to note that night sweats can have various other causes, including anxiety, menopausal symptoms, hypoglycemia, certain medications, substance abuse, and hyperhidrosis, a benign condition causing excessive sweating.
Seeking Medical Advice
Though rare, night sweats can occasionally signal an underlying health condition. It’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional if experiencing unusual or persistent symptoms.
In the ever-evolving landscape of Covid variants, BA.5 raises new questions about the virus’s behavior and its impact on individuals. Vigilance and adherence to public health guidelines remain crucial in navigating these uncertain times.