The Omicron Variant and What Families Need to Know
The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is making many headlines these days and causing many parents to ask very valid questions. While the virus is new and not currently detected in North Carolina, we expect it is only a matter of time before it is here. So, families need to know how they can prevent the spread.
There is a lot that is still unknown regarding the Omicron variant. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is to watch and wait to see how the variant works. The variant has been classified as a variant of concern because of the high transmission rate in South Africa. However, this part of the world didn’t have a high immunization rate among the general population. That said, the variant will likely spread easier than the original virus. We do not yet know how the transmission rates will compare to the Delta variant. The COVID-19 vaccine is expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. Like the Delta variant, breakthrough cases are likely to occur, but symptom severity is expected to be much less severe than in those who have not been vaccinated. You can stay up to date on the latest information about the Omicron variant on the CDC website here.
At this point, the best recommendations for protecting your family from the Omicron variant is the same as with the Delta variant and the original strain of COVID-19. Here are some additional tips to keep your family as safe as possible.
- Anyone eligible to be vaccinated should be. Stop waiting to see if it is safe. The vaccines have been used in millions of people – both adults and children and have been shown to be safe and effective.
- Wear a quality mask properly and anytime you are out in public. The mask should cover your nose and mouth fully. Moving a mask below your nose increases the risk of spreading germs. Remember, you may have COVID-19 and be asymptomatic – meaning without symptoms – but you can pass it onto someone who can have a very severe reaction, even death. Don’t use masks with a valve as they are not as effective. The valve compromises its efficacy.
- Open the windows in your home whenever the weather permits and use HEPA filters to clear the air.
- If you suspect someone in your home is sick with COVID, stay home. Home COVID testing kits are available to NC residents and must be requested online. Once requested, the kit will be mailed to you via FedEx Overnight shipping. You can find COVID testing locations throughout North Carolina here.
We are here to help if you have questions or concerns about the Omicron variant or anything else related to COVID-19. Please reach out to our office or schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns.
Keeping your family healthy is our top priority. We will continue to share updates as more information becomes available. Our social media pages are excellent sources of information. We are on both Instagram and Facebook. We invite you to follow us on whichever platforms you use.