(NEXSTAR) — Waking up with soaked sheets as you nurse your COVID-19 infection? You’re not alone — some people are reporting night sweats, which appear to be signature to the now-dominant omicron variant. These unwelcome night guests join other omicron symptoms, including a runny nose and sore throat.
Night sweats, or episodes of excessive perspiration while sleeping, are emerging as yet another unpleasant symptom of omicron. Episodes are typically associated with other medical conditions, Mayo Clinic reports. In non-COVID cases, night sweats can sometimes be related to flu, anxiety, hormonal changes and cancers.
“People are reporting night sweats, which is a very strange symptom they say they’re having,” Dr. John Torres, NBC News medical correspondent, told TODAY.
Other strains, particularly delta, are well-known to cause changes in or loss of taste and smell. Does omicron cause loss of taste or smell? Torres says it doesn’t seem to, a finding recently backed up by a U.K. Health Security Agency study that found only about 13% of omicron cases in the U.K. lost taste or smell, while about 34% of people with delta cases did.
So while food might still taste good for them, omicron nevertheless has some people reaching for cold towels.
“Omicron has me sweating like a demon after bed,” @GeneaC1 tweeted. “Go to bed fresh, wake up soaked.” Meanwhile, @TheVelvetDays writes: “Here is a weird omicron change. I have been constantly sweating so much from this fever zig zagging and the COVID night sweats (that think it is cute to start at like 3 p.m.), that my hair texture feels fundamentally different.”
With a transmissibility much higher than previous variants, omicron’s caused a worldwide surge in cases. In many areas, case numbers and hospitalizations have soared past even those seen in 2020. White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said last week that omicron will likely “find just about everybody.” Despite being sneakier at infection, much early data indicates omicron is less virulent than previous variants.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges vaccinations and boosters as one of the most effective means of protection from COVID-19. Masking is still recommended in many instances where distancing isn’t possible or in areas with high community transmission. Those who are high-risk and/or with underlying medical conditions should exercise caution, even if they’re fully vaccinated.