Mar 08, 2022
SARS-CoV-2, like other viruses, has been evolving consistently with time, as more and more new mutations have created new variants of the same, which keep appearing in the world. While some of these mutations have no effect on the virus's behaviour, others have modified numerous characteristics, like how infectious the virus is, the tissues it infects, the severity of the illness, and more. Containing significantly more mutations than the previous variants of COVID-19, the omicron variant is spreading faster than other strains of the virus as well. Many of the mutations in the Omicron virus have been detected in the spike protein of the virus, which is what is responsible for how the virus spreads.
Omicron is a new SARS-CoV-2 virus variant that was discovered in mid-November 2021 in South Africa. The variant is scientifically known as B.1.1.529 and is thought to include multiple mutations. It has also been designated as a Variant of Concern (VoC) by the World Health Organization (WHO). The COVID-19 Omicron variant is the fifth variant of concern of the virus, which has been evolving quickly. In the Omicron variant, more than 30 mutations have been identified.
While the symptoms of the Omicron variant are said to be milder as compared to previous variants, the death rate of the Omicron variant has been higher than that of the Delta variant, as the latest variant is much more transmissible and is affecting larger numbers of people all across the world.
The symptoms of the Omicron variant may be similar to those of the previous variants but are believed to be milder. The symptoms of the Omicron variant may also be affected by the presence of other health issues, age, and history of past infections, and some people may not even show any. However, here are some of the most common symptoms of Omicron that you can look out for:
If you notice any symptoms of the COVID-19 Omicron variant or have been exposed to the virus, you should get tested immediately and isolate yourself until you receive your test results. Such small steps can go a long way in aiding the control of the outbreak.
In general, the symptoms of the Omicron variant can last for up to 2 weeks, and health issues caused by the infections may take up to 4 weeks to resolve completely. If someone does not see much improvement in their condition during this period or if their symptoms seem to worsen, they should consult their doctor immediately.
Being cautious and attentive at all times is crucial in light of the global outbreak. There are several preventive measures and safety precautions that should be kept in mind to stay protected against the COVID-19 Omicron variant:
While the efficacy of vaccination depends on several factors like age, illnesses, etc., they still remain the best defence against the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Even though people who have received both their doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have also contracted the Omicron variant, the severity of the virus has been reduced significantly.
Anyone, whether vaccinated or not, can get infected by the Omicron variant. That is why it is important to ensure that you follow all basic COVID-19 safety precautions like maintaining social distancing, always wearing your mask, regularly washing your hands, sanitising properly, avoiding crowded places, etc.
If you are travelling, obey the quarantine regulations of your destination. To keep people and yourself safe, self-isolate yourself for the specified amount of time, the rules of which may differ from one place to the other. Also, you should avoid travelling and socialising unless absolutely necessary till the situation with the new variant is under control.
There is evidence that the Omicron variant does not burrow as far into the lungs as the previous variants but the symptoms that one shows and the severity of their infection may vary based on several factors, which also include the health condition of the person in question. People suffering from acute bronchitis are not frequently short of breath but have a proclivity to cough and produce phlegm. Patients with pneumonia, on the other hand, are more likely to feel shortness of breath and get more fatigued than those with bronchitis, in general. According to a study, people infected with some variant of COVID-19 and subsequently reinfected with the Omicron variant may experience fewer and milder symptoms than the first time they were infected. Doctors recommend that anybody experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms should get tested at the earliest.
As the Omicron variant spreads across the world, affecting huge numbers, it is up to each and every person to take the necessary precautions. Getting vaccinated should be the highest priority, as its importance cannot be emphasised enough. Simple steps such as wearing a mask, using hand sanitisers, and maintaining social distance can help save lives.
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