So you think you have contracted the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, but can’t verify this because you can’t find test kits or get an appointment at a testing center until after the New Year? Don’t worry, life isn’t over. Here’s what to expect, when you’re expecting omicron.
First, if you think you have the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, you probably do. Omicron symptoms are pretty standard across the board.
They include fever, chills, cough, runny nose, fatigue, headaches, sneezing, and a sore throat. If you have these symptoms, and can’t get testing, it’s safe to assume you might have omicron. But, there’s no need to panic. Omicron’s symptoms are mild when compared to other COVID-19 variants and are leading to a lower level of hospitalization worldwide.
The following is an opinion piece. Be sure to consult with your physician prior to taking any medical treatments. If you suspect you are severely ill, consult your physician or head to the emergency room.
Omicron is highly contagious and can spread quickly within a home or business. So, if you think have it, you should stay away from others and treat yourself.
Omicron symptoms are lasting anywhere from 7 to 10 days for most people and is a walking virus, meaning you probably won’t be laid out in bed sick. In the people we interviewed that had the virus, most said they had their most severe symptoms for a day or two, which included flu-like fatigue and fever. Most said their symptoms were very mild with fatigue and a dry cough being the two most frustrating symptoms of the virus.
So first, expect to be frustrated if you’re trying to get tested. In hindsight, other than having peace of mind, there’s no reason to fret if you can’t get tested. A positive test isn’t going to change the virus or how you treat it.
As far as treatment, you should treat omicron just like any other cold, fever or flu, rest, drink plenty of clear liquids and just keep an eye on your own body, because you will know if things get out of hand and a visit to the emergency room or doctor is required.
Most people who contract omicron have reported the virus never made its way into their lungs, staying in the upper respiratory system. That’s good news. If by chance you think your illness is spreading south into your lungs and you have difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention.
You can go about your normal day with omicron. You’re probably not going to want to do home improvement projects or cook big dinners during the beginning of your illness, but you can expect to be able to do whatever you normally do when you have a cold or mild flu. It’s important to rest and recuperate so you can get back to work or resume your daily life.
If you are fully vaccinated or boosted, you will still get omicron. The variant doesn’t care about your face masks or your vaccination status. Just as many vaccinated people are getting the virus as unvaccinated and the symptoms among the vaccinated and unvaccinated are similar.
Stay home. Don’t spread the virus. Don’t have people come over and stay away from your healthy relatives inside your home. Even though the virus is mild, there’s no point in spreading it unnecessarily.
Expect to be judged. People will treat you differently when you get it. They will want you to stay away from them and some will even tell you ridiculous things like, “Next week, maybe we can hang out, just make sure you test negative first.”
They are reacting to fear being spread by President Joe Biden, Doctor Anthony Fauci and the media about the disease. Omicron is not the original strain of the virus and it’s not the delta strain. More people are recovering from the virus and without need for medical intervention.
The virus affects everyone differently, and only you know when it’s time to escalate your level of care. Don’t listen to anyone but yourself and your doctor for advice on when you should seek advanced care. You know your body. You will know if things go bad. If you have difficulty breathing, high fever or prolonged severe symptoms, you should get checked out.
Otherwise, here are some tips are given to us by omicron survivors.
You might get a wicked, dry, tickling cough that doesn’t seem to go away. This is normal. You can treat this like any other cough. Mucinex D seems to do a great job alleviating the cough will Dayquil is a great decongestant. Both should soothe your symptoms. Cough drops, saline sprays, mists and humidifiers will also help you relieve those symptoms.
Eat healthily, drink plenty of water and continue taking your vitamins daily. A healthy immune system will better equip you to fight omicron.
Expect the most severe symptoms to last 3 to 5 days and allow 7 to 10 days for the virus to run its course on you. Most people recovered fully within 7 to 10 days after their first symptoms.
You might feel winded more easily with omicron. You may want to put off putting your Christmas decorations or home improvement projects until you’re better because rest is important. Don’t push yourself too hard.
Life goes on. Omicron isn’t a death sentence. Your life will go on and once you’re recovered, life will return to normal.
Don’t watch the news. The media is full of doom and gloom. Your phone is full of doomscrolling. Just tune it out. Once you contract the virus, reports of how bad it is, how many people are getting it, etc. do nothing for you as the virus is now one-on-one.
It doesn’t matter if 20,000 people in New York got the virus today, because the only case that is important is your own. Many people are going to get this virus and the vast majority are going to be fine.
Nasal rinses are great at relieving sinus pressure, runny noses and they’re great for clearing out all the stuff you don’t want in your sinuses when you’re sick. They won’t treat COVID-19 or stop the virus, but they will ensure your illness doesn’t transform into a bacterial sinus or upper respiratory infection.
Don’t get upset when others tell you “what they think”. You will be blamed by some for getting it, others might give you sympathy. Others will try to explain their political stance on “COVID-19 science”. None of it matters and at this point, it’s all just white noise that has no bearing on any sort of reality you are facing.
Again, don’t stress out about testing kits. If you have the symptoms, you are sick and whether it’s omicron or not, it’s not going to change a thing. You can get tested at any time during your illness, so there’s no need to stand in hours-long lines or drive to 50 pharmacies when you should be home resting. Order a test kit online and wait a day or two for it to come. There’s no rush. If you have symptoms, you most likely have it and should respond as such.
You’ve done everything right during the pandemic. You were fully vaccinated and boosted. You wore two layers of masks and were socially distanced. The only people you should be upset with are government officials who promised you for the past two years that the virus spreads only among the unvaccinated or that those who spread the virus are somehow dirty, bad, or un-American. All of that is not true and is misinformation. It’s a virus. Like any virus in the history of humankind, they spread. It doesn’t matter if you wrapped yourself in a plastic bag for two years. Unless you cut off all contact with humans, you’re going to get viruses and you’re going to spread viruses.
The vaccines you took won’t stop omicron. Your cloth mask won’t stop omicron and your booster shot won’t stop omicron. It is what it is. Rest easy knowing that of the three major strains of COVID-19 so far to hit the world, you pretty much won the virus lottery by getting omicron and not the others. Now, on top of your two vaccines and booster, you might have some natural immunity against future variants, so there’s always that.
Locking down businesses won’t stop omicron and neither will closing schools. Vaccine passports will not stop omicron. Omicron is transferred equally among the vaccinated and unvaccinated and nothing any politician can do will stop that, short of forcing everyone to lock themselves back in their homes for a few months…even then, there’s no evidence to suggest lockdowns will stop the pandemic.
Some experts believe the omicron strain may actually speed up the end of the pandemic by infecting far more people than ever before and establishing a true herd immunity.
Until then, rest, binge-watch television and take care of yourself until you’re over it.
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