The latest COVID surge is causing record high cases and disruptions around the country. Staff shortages are taking place in many areas due to employees calling out sick, airlines are canceling flights because of the spike in cases, some schools are returning to online learning only and emergency rooms are filled to capacity with COVID patients. Taking precautions to help prevent catching the virus is essential right now and Eat This, Not That! Health talked to experts who explained the best way to COVID-proof your life as much as possible. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
“Right now I think the most important thing to do is to protect Americans. We do that by getting them vaccinated and getting them boosted,” CDC Chief Rochelle Walensky said on Fox News Sunday. And even though Omicron is infecting vaccinated people, too, “it’s infecting them at a lower rate and importantly, those people who are vaccinated and infected with Omicron are not the ones who are ending up very sick in the hospital. Those are the people who are unvaccinated.” Don’t depend on a previous infection keeping you immune to a new one, she added, mentioning research into Omicron, “which so far has demonstrated that prior infection protects you less well” from it.
According to Dr. Javeed Siddiqui MD/MPH, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at TeleMed2U, “Vaccination offers protection from infection and has the potential to reduce intensity and duration of symbology.”
You now need an N95 mask to protect you against Omicron. “Cloth masks aren’t going to provide a lot of protection,” says former FDA director Dr. Scott Gottlieb. “That’s the bottom line. This is an airborne illness. We now understand that. And a cloth mask is not gonna protect you from a virus that spreads through airborne transmission. It could protect better through droplet transmission, something like the flu, but not something like this coronavirus.”
Dr. Sean Zager, a board-certified family physician with Paloma Health explains, “With almost every health challenge that a patient asks me about, I always start with the four pillars of health: sleep, stress management, exercise, and nutrition. Those are just basic bedrock ways of helping to support our immune systems, so if we come in contact with a variant of COVID, we may not contract it or be as susceptible to becoming sick by it. To keep the balance in our adrenal glands and our thyroid hormone production, I always talk with patients about the four pillars of health: diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management. You can spin your wheels about medications and herbs and supplements, but until you get these four pillars in balance, none of the rest of the stuff matters.”
Dr. Zager says, “With diet, I suggest avoiding known food triggers and sticking to an anti-inflammatory diet with minimal unhealthy fats or refined sugars. Getting regular aerobic exercise helps our body become better at regulating cortisol. Good sleep hygiene includes making sure you’re staying away from screens and a couple of hours before bed and sticking to a consistent sleep schedule. And for stress management, I often encourage patients to have both active and passive forms. For instance, exercise is active. Or deep breathing, guided imagery, meditation, or calming music for passive. For some people, it’s taking a hot Epsom salt bath before bed.”
“I would think about other natural remedies for care,” Dr. Zager states. “Vitamin D supplementation is good for immune health, especially for patients with autoimmune challenges. Zinc and vitamin C are good.”
Staying at least six feet apart from others and not engaging in our normal social interactions isn’t easy, but Dr. Siddiqui recommends doing so. “The most effective practices to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus is to limit interactions with others whose exposure history and current medical conditions are not known to you and receive the mRNA vaccine series with a booster dose.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci Has said it is now “incontrovertibly” clear Omicron is highly transmissible. Therefore, he says to avoid large gathings, and used New Year’s Eve as an example. “If your plans are to go to a 40-to-50 person New Year’s Eve party with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing and wishing each other a Happy New Year — I would strongly recommend that, this year, we do not do that,” Fauci said during a White House update on the pandemic
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.