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Covid-19. Omnicron Variant

14/01/2022 Epidemiology

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of the Omicron variant include the following conditions:

  •  Tiredness and muscle pain
  •  Fever
  •  Dry cough
  •  Sore throat
  •  Headache
  •  Lower back pain
  •  Extreme night sweats

It seems that there are fewer cases of loss of smell and taste, as well as difficulty in breathing.

These symptoms have shown variations between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients, with the age of the patient or risk groups being important in the severity of the symptoms.

The CDC announced on Monday, December 27, 2021 that the recommended isolation period for a positive case is five days, to be free of symptoms and after that to use a mask to avoid infecting other people, at least for ten additional days, or until an antigen test with a negative result.

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TESTING

The symptoms of the new variant are similar to those of the common flu, and during the winter season, it is very easy to confuse COVID-19 with a cold, so a confirmatory laboratory test ends up being the most effective way to determine contagion.

Antigen Testing.

It is an accessible and rapid test but less accurate, especially in the detection of the Omnicron variant, and a negative result could be false; this is because the first few days, the viral load is low, so it is not yet detected with the antigen test, even if you already have symptoms, you may have a negative result.

PCR test.

We recommend you to perform this test if:

  •  You have symptoms compatible with those of the Omnicron variant,
  •  You were in contact with a COVID-19 positive person, even if they complied with the rules of healthy coexistence,
  •  You have a negative antigen test but fall into either of the above two points.

This is because a PCR test can more accurately detect the presence of the virus, even with a low viral load.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. If a person had COVID-19 recently, can they be vaccinated? 

People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.

People who have had a known COVID-19 exposure should not seek vaccination until their quarantine period has ended to avoid potentially exposing healthcare personnel and others during the vaccination visit. This recommendation also applies to people with a known COVID-19 exposure who have received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine but not their second.

2. Is Omicron more contagious? 

The Omicron variant likely spreads more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. Recent data suggests that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.

3. Does Omicron cause severe disease? 

More data is needed to know if infections with the Omicron variant, and especially cases of reinfection or infection in the vaccinated, cause more severe disease or more deaths than infections with other variants; however, data from Mexico so far are not showing a peak in hospital admissions.

4. Are vaccines still effective against Omicron? 

Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from Omicron variant infection. However, fully vaccinated people may still get Covid. Vaccines remain effective against other variants in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. The recent emergence of the omicron variant further highlighted the importance of vaccination and booster doses.

5. Should we continue to wear masks? 

Yes, masks offer protection against all variants. Mask use is still recommended in closed public settings in substantial or high community transmission areas, regardless of vaccination status.

 In addition to face masks remember to follow health recommendations.

  • Wash your hands
  • Use your face mask correctly,
  • Keep a 1.5mts distance from others. 
  • Do not touch your eyes, mouth, and nose. 
  • Reduce time outside your home, 
  • Avoid crowded places and choose outdoor areas. 
  • Get vaccinated!

Do not self medicate and seek profesional help.

 

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