As the world went into a lockdown, little did anyone anticipate the beginning of what seems like an unending pandemic. With the availability of vaccines and implementation of other COVID-19 protocols, we were able to resume a life, somewhat resembling the pre-pandemic times, with the addition of masks, social distancing and decreased social activities. However, as one variant after another comes into the picture, it threatens to turn the world upside down yet again. The latest addition to the variants - Omicron - has been flagged as a potentially dangerous variant, which may lead to the world shutting down, yet again. So what is this variant and how can we protect ourselves and our loved ones against this? Let’s dig a little deeper to understand the full picture.
The Omicron, a variant of Covid-19, has been warned against by the WHO based on its mutations and rate of infections. However, studies are still underway to grasp the actual reality of the variant and its repercussions on mankind. In the meantime, scientists have outlined that the symptoms of this shall be the same as before and previous infections are not a shield against the new variant. Thus it’s important to take adequate measures to stay safe amidst these times. Let’s take a look at five such simple precautionary measures to take against Covid-19 Omicron variant
Although scientists are still studying the effects of existing vaccines against the Omicron variant, there is a strong belief that being vaccinated can significantly reduce the symptoms of the variant, if not prevent the infection fully. Thus, to be on the safer side, it is a good idea to be fully vaccinated (i.e getting all recommended doses of the vaccine you have been administered) against the virus. Moreover, some countries are now offering a booster dose, which can increase the effectiveness of the vaccine against the virus. If you are in a place that offers a booster dose, it would be a good idea to consult your doctor and get it, if recommended.
Wear a Mask
All doctors and government authorities have recommended wearing a mask, in public places and in the presence of others, even when you are fully vaccinated. The right kind of masks, when worn correctly - that is fully covering your nose and mouth - has been shown to be very effective against the virus. Also make sure that you wash your hands well before and after putting on or removing a mask. If you are using reusable masks, make sure to air them out and keep them stored correctly.
Maintain Physical DIstancing
While avoiding crowded places or poorly ventilated places may not always be possible, you can always try to make it as safe as possible. Apart from wearing your mask, maintain physical distancing from people and urge others around you to do the same. Simply maintaining one metre of distance between you and the person next to you, has shown to be effective in keeping infections at bay.
Maintain Personal Hygiene
Washing hands was the first protocol of the first wave of Covid-19 and still remains the most effective way of protecting yourself against the virus. Wash your hands frequently and well, for at least twenty to seconds each time, with a good quality soap or hand wash. It is especially important to follow this protocol after touching any external things or coming in contact with someone. Apart from maintaining good personal hygiene, it is also recommended to keep surroundings clean with disinfectants and sanitising wipes.
Minimise Social Gatherings, Travel & Avoid Poorly Ventilated Spaces
With each passing day, it is being said to avoid large gatherings or travelling to other places. Avoid going out unless absolutely necessary and avoid travelling as much as you can - especially via public means of transportation like buses, metros, aeroplanes etc. As these are closed spaces, they are not very well ventilated and pose increased threats of infection. Whenever possible, choose to be in well ventilated spaces when interacting with others. The pandemic has been tough on everyone’s mental health, but staying in touch over video calls and phone calls is still recommended over meeting in-person, especially to safeguard the elderly and the kids, or people who have other illnesses, which put them at a greater risk. If absolutely necessary, you can choose to meet others in an open space like a park or a garden.
With these measures in place, we can hope to keep the Omicron variant infections at bay, till the world is better equipped to deal with this mutation. Stay safe!