The beginning of the holiday season in Illinois is also the beginning of the cold and flu season. Health officials warn of a new COVID variant currently sweeping the state.

Highly Transmissible COVID Variant Spreading in Illinois

The season of respiratory viruses has just arrived this year, and with it comes a new COVID variant, HV.1, spreading across the United States.

Before you start feeling wretched...

What You Should Know About HV.1

HV.1 has appeared better at transmission from person to person than previous strains which explains why it has become the dominant variant, according to the CDC.

Now that it's fairly clear HV.1 is the most common COVID variant in the US, what else do we need to know?

Here's what I found from TODAY/Aol.

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Is the HV.1 variant severe?

Right now, it appears HV.1 does not result in more hospitalizations.

Are symptoms of HV.1 different?

Even though it is more transmissible, HV.1 doesn't seem to produce a more severe disease. The symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or stuffiness
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever or chills

and the biggest question,

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Will current COVID-19 vaccines protect me from HV.1?

“Laboratory studies indicate that the updated booster will protect against serious disease caused by HV.1,” says Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to TODAY.com.

Experts recommend that anyone who has symptoms should get tested, especially if you're in a high-risk group:

  • Over the age of 65
  • Immunocompromised
  • Underlying health conditions

The test is shown to be the only well to tell the difference between HV.1 and RSV or the flu.

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