If you’re wondering about Omicron variant symptoms, we’ve got you covered. If you are concerned about the emergence of the latest COVID-19 variant, you are certainly not alone. Across the world, millions of people are taking steps to protect themselves such as wearing masks, sanitizing their hands, and receiving vaccinations and booster shots. However, the variants of this virus continue to bring about additional concerns. Here’s everything you need to know about the Omicron variant, so that you can take the necessary precautions to protect yourself….
What is the Omicron Variant?
First detected by the World Health Organization (WHO) in November 2021, the Omicron variant has spread from South Africa and Botswana to the United States as of December. Currently, there has been at least one reported case of the Omicron variant in all states except for Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Indiana, and Oklahoma. Check our live U.S. State Omicron Map here.
The Omicron variant is a mutation of the COVID-19 virus. According to John Hopkins, it is common for RNA viruses to mutate over time, resulting in variations of the virus. It’s the same concept as the flu virus mutating into different strains. Just as you need to get a fresh flu shot annually to keep up with the viral changes, COVID-19 booster shots are recommended by the FDA to ensure continued resistance to COVID and its variants.
How easily is the variant Spread?
According to the CDC, the Omicron variant will like spread from person to person easier than the original COVID-19 virus, but there’s still not enough data available to compare the Omicron variant to the recent Delta variant. It’s recommended for those who contract the Omicron variant to self-quarantine and practice social distancing to reduce the spread of the virus.
What are Omicron Variant Symptoms?
Currently, the CDC and WHO claim that there’s still not enough information on the Omicron variant to determine whether it will result in more severe COVID-19 symptoms or an increase in hospitalizations. However, many news sources, such as NBC and CBS, have reported that it appears as though the Omicron variant causes less severe COVID infections, but could be more resistant to treatments and vaccines.
According to Scott Gottlieb, a doctor and former FDA commissioner, “there has been no indication that the Omicron variant causes more severe infection, even though it appears to be more transmissible than previous strains.” This is believed to be due to built-up immunities to the virus, but right now, more data is needed.
Do the Vaccines and Treatments Work Against the Omicron Variant?
While it is possible for vaccinated individuals to have breakthrough Omicron infections, the vaccines are expected by the CDC to prevent more serious illness and hospitalizations, as was the case with the Delta variant. The CDC has stated that the emergence of the Omicron variant reinforces the importance of receiving vaccinations.
As far as COVID-19 treatments are concerned, scientists are still trying to figure out whether the existing treatment options will be effective against the Omicron variant, but speculate that some treatments will continue to be just as effective, while others effectiveness will lessen.
For example, ABC news has reported that two of the main drugs that have been used to treat those with COVID-19 are unlikely to work against the Omicron variant, but WHO has stated that certain other medications, including steroids, would continue to be effective treatments.
This is another reason why it is so important to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Major health officials from the CDC, FDA, and WHO continue to insist that the vaccinations are the best available weapon in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
The CDC continues to conduct scientific research and collect more data about the Omicron variant and promise to update the public as soon as they learn more.
In the meantime, they have stated that they believe that we already have many of the tools needed to combat the emergence of the Omicron variant. Here’s the recommended steps that you should take to protect yourself and your family:
Vaccinations and Booster Shots
It’s been stated by the CDC that vaccines continue to be the best measure to protect the public from COVID-19 and its variants. The vaccinations are proven to reduce the risk of severe infection, hospitalization, and death. While the Omicron variant is still being researched with regards to the level of protection that the vaccines will provide, it’s still best to have yourself and family vaccinated against COVID-19.
The CDC has recommended that everybody who is over the age of five should be vaccinated for COVID-19. If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should receive a booster shot two months after your initial vaccine dose. However, if you received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, then you should get your booster shot six months after receiving the second dose of the vaccine. Booster shots are recommended for all adults over the age of eighteen.
Masks, Hand-washing, and Social Distancing
If you are interested in a method of protecting yourself against all COVID-19 variants, wearing a mask is effective, regardless of the viral strain. You should always where a face covering in public places, wash and sanitize your hands regularly, and practice social distancing when possible.
Very simply, use a common sense approach in protecting your health and the health of those around you. If you feel sick, stay home.
Testing to determine if you’ve Been Infected with Covid-19
The Omicron variant symptoms don’t differ from other variants. If you have a cough, fever, or any other symptoms that could be COVID-19 related, don’t shrug it off as being a head cold. Stay home and make an appointment to be tested. The Omicron variant seems to be more contagious than previous strains, so protect your loved ones by getting tested.
While the emergence of the Omicron variant may be unsettling, the best ways to protect yourself against COVID-19 remain unchanged. Vaccinations, masks, and social distancing are still the best chances we have at moving past the pandemic and forward in life.