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Since its outbreak in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached catastrophic proportions, claiming the lives of millions of people. And, with the new Omicron variant spreading steadily, it is clear that the threat is far from over.

First reported to WHO from South Africa, the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) has swept rapidly across the globe. The alarmingly transmissible virus has caused the highest surge of COVID-19 cases in the US to date, according to the CDC.

Although the Omicron variant appears to be relatively mild, the record spike in cases is leading to an increase in hospitalizations. Right now, COVID-19 precautions at home seem to be the only way to tackle the new scare. Following simple safety protocols can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading the virus to others.

Let’s look at five preventive measures you should keep up to protect yourself and your loved ones.

1. Social Distancing

If the early nationwide lockdowns have taught us anything, it is that social distancing and isolation precautions for COVID-19 work wonders to ‘flatten the curve’. The fewer people you meet, the lower the risk of transmission. Try to avoid going out in populated areas unless necessary. Also, keep physical and social interactions to a minimum. Entirely asymptomatic patients are also capable of spreading the infection.

When you do step out, be sure to stay six feet away from everyone else. Avoid visiting crowded places, such as markets, bars, public gatherings, and nightclubs, for as long as the variant is on the loose. Remember, a little restraint can go a long way in limiting the spread of the virus.

2. Identifying Symptoms

Being able to interpret the early Omicron variant signs and symptoms can help you take the necessary steps towards recovery and mitigation. The question is, what are the most common indicators of the Omicron virus?

As per preliminary analysis from the Zoe COVID-19 study, both variants of COVID-19- Delta and Omicron- seem to induce similar symptoms, such as:

  • Runny nose
  • Mild or severe fatigue
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Headache

The study also found that the loss of smell and taste, a hallmark of COVID-19 in the previous waves, has become much less common in new patients. However, further research may add more symptoms to the list, so we’ll have to wait and watch.

It is also worth noting that an alarming number of children are falling sick in this phase of the pandemic. Children are more vulnerable to severe infections due to their unique physiology. It’s up to us to encourage testing children for COVID-19 and following COVID-19 precautions at home to shield them during this difficult time.

3. Getting Tested

At this stage, you’ve probably heard about polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and googled rapid testing COVID-19 near me a few times yourself. While everyone seems to have a different opinion on which test is the best, one thing is for sure: testing is vital to infection control.

If you exhibit any signs of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, you’ll need to get tested as soon as possible. To maintain isolation precautions for COVID-19, it’s best if you get an at-home COVID-19 test.

This will help you:

  • Avoid a hospital setting
  • Get tested comfortably
  • Steer clear of long queues

In this regard, remember that self-testing kits aren’t always accurate. Ideally, COVID-19 testing should be conducted by a trained medical professional from a reputable healthcare center, such as LX Medical.

As a resident in need of COVID-19 testing in St. Paul, Minnesota, you can trust LX Medical to deliver accurate results quickly. Our at-home testing services take advantage of some of the most advanced screening capacities in the market. Plus, our advanced practice providers have the experience and resources to administer the test correctly. Schedule an appointment and let us take care of the rest while you maintain COVID-19 precautions at home.

4. Vaccinations

Recently, the World Health Organization suggested that Omicron poses a massive threat to the unvaccinated. People who haven’t taken any COVID-19 vaccines are at a greater risk of severe illnesses and death.

It’s safe to say that the vaccines do work. Not only do they minimize the risk of dangerous complications, but they can also help protect you from other widely circulating variants, such as Delta and Omicron.

Here are a few important pointers about the COVID-19 vaccines you should know.

  • While the vaccines were developed rapidly, they were checked for safety and effectiveness.
  • All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals, microelectronics, eggs, gelatin, latex, and preservatives.
  • You can get vaccinated even if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to conceive, or have plans to conceive in the future. To resolve any doubts, feel free to talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Side effects from vaccines are normal and should go away within a few days. Be sure to self-quarantine and maintain COVID-19 precautions at home for this period.

For these reasons, you must get vaccinated as soon as possible. In case your vaccination routine involves two doses, be sure to receive both to maximize protection. The CDC also recommends everyone aged 16 and above receive a booster shot after completing their primary vaccination.

5. Masks

The mandatory use of masks in public spaces was one of the most striking lifestyle changes to emerge from the pandemic. There are good reasons for this.

COVID-19 and its variants can spread when people breathe, cough, sneeze, or talk. A mask acts as a barrier, and can help prevent the virus from reaching you. Alternatively, it also allows you to stop the spread and safeguard others, especially if you are an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier.

Apart from following COVID-19 precautions at home, you must also engage in COVID-19 appropriate behavior outside. Always be sure to wear masks in high-transmission and public indoor settings, regardless of your vaccination status.

Ideally, you should select masks that:

  • Have at least two layers of breathable and washable fabric
  • Cover your mouth, chin, and nose completely
  • Do not leave gaps around the sides of your face

In Conclusion

With the current COVID wave in full swing across multiple countries, it is up to you to stay safe and take proper precautions. Now that you know what to do, all you’ll need is a little self-discipline to put these defenses into practice.

Testing is one of our primary tools to fight Omicron. At LX Medical, we provide accurate at-home COVID-19 tests for your convenience. What’s more, we also bring specialized urgent care and concierge medicine at the comfort of your home. Feel free to get in touch with us for more information!