What is Omicron Variant?
The Omicron variant is the newly detected variant of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). It is now the dominant strain of Coronavirus disease in the US. Just like the other variant, Omicron also spreads faster through respiratory droplets and close contact with infected people. As of December 20, 2021, Omicron has been detected in most territories and is rapidly increasing the proportion of COVID-19 cases.
It is not yet determined how easy the variant spreads and the severity of the illness it causes or how will vaccines respond to it. Note that this variant can spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV 2 virus. Anyone with Omicron variant can spread the virus to others regardless of the vaccinated or unvaccinated individual.
Symptoms of Omicron Variant
Early evidence suggests that the Omicron variant symptoms are more rampant in unvaccinated people and mild for those who are vaccinated with booster shots. Signs and symptoms include:
Unlike other variants, the loss of sense of smell and taste is uncommon if you are infected with the Omicron variant. Seek medical help and isolate yourself if you begin to experience initial symptoms or you have direct contact with an infected person.
Incubation Period of the Omicron Variant
The time it takes for the infected person to develop symptoms after exposure may be shorter than other COVID-19 variants. The onset of the symptoms of the Omicron variant is within 3 days after getting the infection whereas the other COVID-19 variant starts to show within 7 days.
The Omicron variant would have a shorter incubation period. Its goal is to infect as many people as it can and as fast as possible. If you have direct contact with an infected individual, ensure to get tested within 72 hours following the exposure.
Who are at Risk of the Omicron Variant?
- Older people and those with underlying conditions are vulnerable to the disease.
- People with a weakened immune system are also at high risk of getting the infection.
- Children and infants are also at risk for the disease, but there is no evidence of the spread of the variant from the mother to the unborn child.
- People with chronic diseases are more likely to get the virus especially with direct exposure to infected individuals.
How to Diagnose Omicron Variant?
The diagnosis includes proper assessment of the symptoms and other recommended testing. Others include rapid testing, swab test, and saliva test. A chest X-ray is also recommended to confirm the diagnosis.
Inform your doctor if you experience sudden fatigue, cough, and congestion. Ensure to isolate yourself if the symptoms occur after exposing yourself to an infected individual.
Treatment for Omicron Variant
Similar to other strains of COVID-19, the Omicron variant also does not have specific treatment medications. But, it is recommended worldwide to get vaccinated and refrain from going to crowded places to prevent the spread of the virus. Disinfect and wear proper protective equipment or mask every time you go out. Your doctor may also recommend antiviral medications.