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Some infected by Covid FLiRT variants report their most unpleasant symptoms yet

As the summer travel season picks up, COVID cases and hospitalizations are rising in Los Angeles County — and some of those recently reinfected are finding their latest bout to be the worst yet.

There are no signs at this point that the latest coronavirus variants are producing more severe illness, either nationally or in California.

But some doctors say this latest COVID rise challenges a long-held myth: Although new COVID infections are often mild compared with a first brush with the disease, they still can cause severe illness. Even if someone doesn't need to visit the emergency room or be hospitalized, people sometimes describe agonizing symptoms.

"The dogma is that every time you get COVID, it's milder. But I think we need to keep our minds open to the possibility that some people have worse symptoms," said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UC San Francisco infectious diseases expert.

Each time you get COVID, he said, is "kind of like playing COVID roulette."

This underscores the need for caution during summer travel and activities, even though the overall risk remains relatively mild.

Since everyone's experience with COVID is different and influenced by a number of factors, it's difficult to quantify how many are experiencing more acute symptoms now compared with previous infections. But anecdotally, including on social media sites, people are expressing shock at how sick they've become from the latest subvariants, which have been collectively nicknamed FLiRT.

"I've had COVID a few times but this is the worst I've had it," wrote one person on Reddit. The person reported recurring fever, being so congested they couldn't breathe out of their nose, "terrible sinus pressure and headache ... and I can't stand up for too long without feeling like I'm about to pass out."

"Previously COVID just felt like the common cold, but this strain is [wreaking] havoc," the person wrote. "I don't like to complain like this, but I'm shocked at how much it's taking me out."

Another person wrote that their "throat feels like razor blades" and that they feel like they're "in living misery."

"I have so much phlegm, but it hurts so bad to cough because my throat is on literal fire!!" the person wrote. "This is my 4th time having Covid and I swear I feel like this is the worst it's ever been!!"

Others who eluded COVID for more than four years got infected this summer.

One person fell ill and tested positive for the first time after hosting a Father's Day gathering for 12 people. The person described "uncontrollable body-shaking chills so bad I couldn't feel most of my fingertips."

A 42-year-old nurse, who has had COVID four times, said their latest illness has been "intense with fevers, cough, head pressure and pain. It's attacking my throat and ability to swallow."

Others, though, have said each subsequent COVID illness has been easier to recover from. And one first-time infected person wrote that they had "super mild symptoms [that] just feels like a seasonal allergy" flare-up.

Some studies back up the idea that subsequent COVID infections pose additional risks. A 2022 report in the journal Nature Medicine, focused on veterans, found that, "Compared to noninfected [people], cumulative risks and burdens of repeat infection increased according to the number of infections," heightening the risk of medical problems, hospitalization and death.

There are a number of potential reasons why a subsequent COVID illness might feel worse than the first. Say a person who was vaccinated and last boosted in 2021 got infected in 2022 and then again in 2024. The relatively long gap of not being exposed to infection, or a booster, "maybe led to [their body] not having as much immune memory. And the variants have changed so much anyway, it's like getting exposed to something relatively different from what virus the immune system had seen earlier," Chin-Hong said.

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by Anonymousreply 11July 8, 2024 11:17 PM

Pay no attention to these damn fools. Just listen to us, we're the experts.

by Anonymousreply 1July 8, 2024 6:18 PM

It'll go away by Easter and it will be a miracle!!!

by Anonymousreply 2July 8, 2024 6:29 PM

I couldn't read the LA Times article because of paywall. What exactly are the 'unpleasant' symptoms?

by Anonymousreply 3July 8, 2024 6:49 PM

You can read the whole article here, R3.

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by Anonymousreply 4July 8, 2024 6:58 PM

I woke up to a scratchy throat on Saturday and tested positive yesterday. Acetaminophen didn't do much for my temperature last night. Woke up fever-free and now I have the chills again. But so far, knock wood, it hasn't been worse than my response to the vaccine and boosters.

by Anonymousreply 5July 8, 2024 7:14 PM

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff tests positive for COVID. Vice President Harris has tested negative.

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by Anonymousreply 6July 8, 2024 7:24 PM

I've had Covid 4 or 5 times and never once experienced any respiratory issues. No coughing, sneezing, congestion, runny nose... Just debilitating fatigue, fever, diarrhea, dizziness and nausea.

by Anonymousreply 7July 8, 2024 8:45 PM

For COVID, you should own the MAGAs and mask up and never leave the house.

For Monkeypox aka MPX, you should fuck raw and attend sex parties, also to own the MAGAs, because anything else would be homophobic.

by Anonymousreply 8July 8, 2024 8:57 PM

Believe the Science!

by Anonymousreply 9July 8, 2024 8:58 PM

Cases of fear pron are surging again, I see.

by Anonymousreply 10July 8, 2024 10:31 PM

"I have COVID, therefore I am."...OP

by Anonymousreply 11July 8, 2024 11:17 PM
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