Categories: Coronavirus

Omicron variant

There is a lot of apprehensions associated with the Omicron variant. Most of this anxiety is due to the lack of information available. Though a lot of research is still undergoing to understand the Omicron variant, in this blog, we will try to answer some of the most common questions people have about this variant.

So firstly, we try to understand Omicron.

Omicron is the latest variant of the coronavirus. According to World Health Organization, the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) is a variant of concern because it mutates very rapidly.

Is Omicron a cause of concern?

As we know, coronavirus mutates continuously. With every mutation, a new variant emerges. WHO classified these variants into two categories:

  • A variant of concern (VOC): It includes the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants of the coronavirus.
  • A variant of interest (VOI): Under this category, World Health Organization placed the Eta, Iota, Kappa, and Lambda variants of coronavirus.

Variants classified under a variant of concern are rapidly transmissible from one person to another and with a higher fatality rate, and the overall effectiveness of the treatment is comparatively less.

Omicron is the fifth variant of concern because it is mutating very rapidly. Till now, more than 30 mutations are being recognized in Omicron.

The first patient of Omicron was detected in South Africa. In India, the first case of the Omicron variant was reported in Karnataka.

Symptoms of Omicron virus:

We know that the Omicron is a relatively new variant of the coronavirus.

Many studies and research are still undergoing to understand the symptoms of the Omicron and to understand the difference between Omicron and other variants. Some symptoms associated with the Omicron virus,

Including but not limited to are:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Pain and itchiness in the throat
  • Cough
  • Loss of taste and smell (less common)
  • General weakness and tiredness
  • Headache
  • Severe body pain which interferes in any work
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rashes

Various research has shown that Omicron strikes on person’s immune system. It may also cause reinfection in people who have already recovered from the COVID-19 disease.

Can two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination prevent a person from contracting Omicron?

Vaccination has played a crucial role in controlling the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though people can get corona infection even after vaccination, the severity of the disease is relatively low in the vaccinated ones.

The efficiency of vaccination on Omicron is still being analysed.

According to many types of research, vaccines ensure additional protection against severe disease.

Is the Omicron variant riskier than the Delta variant?

Based on certain studies, Omicron is relatively less severe than the delta variant. The need for hospitalization is less in Omicron infection.

Though scientists and doctors are still trying to get a complete picture of the severity of Omicron, studies till now suggest that Omicron is a less severe and very rapidly transmissible variant. But the reinfection rate is higher for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

What precautions should we take to protect ourselves from the Omicron variant?

With the increase in the number of reported cases, we need to take extra precautions to prevent ourselves, from getting infected. The measures for prevention remain the same as for the other variants of coronavirus. For proper protection, people should not compromise the recommended precautions and guidelines announced by our government.

The mandatory precautions we should follow are:

  • Wear mask appropriately
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Follow proper sanitization practices
  • Maintain proper hygiene
  • Avoid contacting your eyes and mouth repeatedly
  • Take both dosages of covid vaccination
  • Have proper ventilation in working areas
  • Avoid crowded places

Dr. Ranganatha | Consultant – Pulmonology | Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Bommasandra, Bangalore

Narayana Health

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