Preliminary studies suggest that the omicron variant of Covid-19, while highly transmissible, is not as severe as delta.
“All indications point to a lesser severity of omicron versus delta,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top health advisor and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during a White House press briefing on Covid.
But health experts say do not get complacent!
“Don’t take this new variant for granted. It can still make you very sick and it can be very dangerous, especially for senior citizens,” warned Pride PHC Vice President, Andy Cruz.
Strong immune systems of younger people helps them fight off the vicious effects of COVID. As you get older, your immune system loses its ability to fight off viruses and disease. Since the Omicron variant can still potentially cause illness in fully vaccinated people, it becomes even more important to make sure seniors are fully vaccinated and boosted.
There are also reports that indicate if you are unvaccinated, your risk to end up in the hospital for COVID is 12 times greater than someone who is vaccinated.
Keep the Mask
Regardless of your vaccine status, Pride is urging you to keep your mask handy and wear it in any public indoor setting. You should also wear it, if you find yourself in a confined outdoor space where there are large crowds. K95 and N 95 masks are still the “gold standard” of recommended masks. Cloth masks are far less effective according to health experts but still better than nothing.
All about the Booster
Getting a booster is important, especially for older adults. Omicron can spread rapidly. So, it is critical to give yourself the maximum level of protection.
“The better you are protected the better your chance of surviving COVID. This is a nasty, debilitating virus. Studies have repeatedly proven that the vaccinations work. They provide a stronger defense system for the body than not getting any vaccinations. And a booster, gives your body just one more layer of defense. That’s why getting a booster is essential to protect your community, your loved ones and your own health,” said Cruz.
What about my routine?
You might want to think about adjusting your routines because of the Omicron variant. Do you really need to go H-E-B now or can you make that trip when it’s a little less crowded? If weather permits, perhaps you can swap that indoor walk in the mall for a brisk walk outside. That way, you reduce your risk of catching Covid. Consider postponing travel to see loved ones or skipping out on that school reunion. Since the Omicron variant is far more transmissible than other variants of Covid, now might be the perfect time to make adjustments to your routine.
Having a plan NOW is a good idea
With Omicron spreading across the nation, senior programs and the ability for caregivers to deliver services, could be impacted. So, it’s good to plan what you will do if you can’t get a provider to come to your home, or if your local senior center has to temporarily close. Family members and neighbors can often be lifelines if care can’t be provided. Talk to them about what you will do just in case. Be sure to take advantage of guides and resources that can help you organize and prepare for what’s ahead.
“Beyond the danger of Covid-19 is the danger of misinformation. From the impact of Covid to vaccines, older adults are especially susceptible to the constant churn of misinformation circulating in our society,” said Cruz.
Be sure to get medical advice directly from your doctor and other medical professionals whom you know and you trust. Also, it’s worth asking trusted caregivers about sources of accurate information that you can turn to whenever you wish. You can always reach out to your friends here at Pride PHC, if you have any questions about Covid or the Omicron variant.
Is it the Flu, a Cold or COVID?
The symptoms of a common cold, the flu, and Covid can overlap. Doctors say the first thing to do if you start to experience symptoms is to get a Covid test and rule that out first. The flu can often hit right away, while Covid symptoms may take several days to surface in its peak form. So, it’s important to get tested and not to self-diagnose.
The more you know about how to take on Omicron and Covid, the healthier you be.
“At Pride, we continue our commitment to protecting and enhancing the lives of those whom we serve during this difficult time in all lives. When it comes to coping with the ongoing pandemic, we are all in this together.” said Cruz.