As we near two full years of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s obvious that our communities are exhausted. But we must remain cautious, vigilant, and somehow radically hopeful for the future. Here are 6 ways that you can keep you and your loved ones as safe as possible with the Omicron variant.
If you haven't already, get vaccinated, then boosted: Study after study show that getting vaccinated remains the best way to mitigate the worst effects of COVID-19. While it doesn’t stop you from contracting the virus, it still limits the potential harm if you do get COVID-19. If it’s been at least 6 months since your last vaccine dose, schedule your booster shot today, as the booster shot dramatically increases virus-fighting antibodies in your immune system.
Keep wearing your mask: As we are dealing with an airborne virus, wearing your mask continues to be one of the most important tools to protect each other from the virus. Anytime you are in public, wear your mask. Experts are now suggesting it’s time to upgrade from cloth masks to surgical or K/N95 masks to best stop the spread of the virus.
Stay away from crowded, poorly ventilated spaces: Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been told to maintain physical distance as best as possible. This continues to be essential advice. If you choose to gather, choose spaces where there’s the most ventilation, outside if possible.
Get tested: If you think you’ve been exposed, isolate if possible and get tested 3-5 days after exposure. At-home tests have shown some reduced sensitivity to the omicron variant, so PCR test is best if you have the time for the results (24-72 hours depending on where you get it). But any test, and being sure, is better than no test, and potentially spreading the virus.
Recognize symptoms: Especially if you’re vaccinated/boosted, COVID-19 can present itself differently in the body. Common mild symptoms include runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, and a sore throat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Covid-19 symptoms that demand emergency medical care include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, sudden confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, and pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone.x
Be kind to yourself & others: Needless to say, this has been an extremely stressful time in everyone’s lives. Managing anxiety can feel like a full-time job, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Extend grace and kindness to yourself, those you love and strangers alike. While there is plenty we cannot control, we can control how we respond. Trust that we are going to make it through this.
Photo Credit: Center for Disease Control