Omicron: do you know odynophagia, this symptom of the variant that interferes with swallowing?

A Swedish study has highlighted the existence of a symptom called odynophagia in some patients with the Omicron variant.

Sore throat, breathing difficulties, headaches, digestive disorders, dizziness… the list of symptoms linked to Covid-19 continues to grow. The latest? Odynophagia, characterized by discomfort when swallowing saliva or food. And reported in some patients who contracted the Omicron variant.

There are more and more commonalities between Covid-19 and angina, flu and other nasopharyngitis. Between headaches, episodes of fatigue, throat pain or difficulty breathing, there is indeed reason to doubt when you have one of these symptoms.

A symptom also observed during angina

And according to Swedish researchers, we are neither at the end of our surprises, nor at the end of our capacity to learn new words concerning very common symptoms. Thus, patients who contracted the Omicron variant would be more exposed to odynophagia. Often associated with angina, or digestive disorders, this symptom is characterized by difficulty or even pain when swallowing.

To prove this, the team of Pr Krzysztof Piersiala* analyzed the files of patients positive for Covid-19 and treated for ENT disorders, between 1er and January 23, 2022.

Youth, the vaccine and good health

Results, odynophagia particularly affects the young population, vaccinated and presenting no risk factors. The discomfort and pain described seem close to epiglottitis**, this inflammation of the epiglottis, a gland located in front of the larynx. However, “no case has been reported out of the 20 patients observed”.

Other points, “15 patients were vaccinated (complete schedule) against Covid-19. Four had to be briefly hospitalized. Most of the patients presented with viral laryngotracheitis”, that is to say severe inflammation of the throat. Or maybe pharyngitis. A total of six patients showed signs of bacterial infection and were put on antibiotics.

Finally, “the old variants exposed patients to significant respiratory problems or to losses of the Omicron variant, it seems to affect primarily “the upper respiratory tract and cause laryngitis without disturbance of olfaction”.

*Department of ENT Diseases, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
**Characterized by fever, difficulty in swallowing, intense sore throat and which can degenerate in the most serious situation into obstruction of the respiratory tract

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