India is already witnessing the third wave of COVID –19 and the daily cases are rising every day. Here are some precautions that one could to protect themselves from the omicron variant.
The Precautionary steps towards protection are:
1. At the personal level
· Nutrition – Age-appropriate balanced nutrition with the right quantity and quality of macronutrients and micronutrients is very important to support a good immune system.
· Rest and sleep – Adequate rest and good quality of sleep is essential for maintaining a strong internal environment to fight the germs. Good quality of sleep is attainable through early dinner closer to the sunset, which meets the circadian rhythm. This will give enough time between bedtime and dinner. Good quality of sleep renders not just physical benefits but also brings about emotional stability and mental clarity.
· Physical activity – Adequate physical activities through movements such as yoga, walking, tai chi and aerobics help improve blood circulation and lend one self-confidence and feel-good factor. This is essential to maintain balanced emotions, thereby reducing the stress with mental clarity.
2. At the community level
An individual’s health is in others’ hands. Our well-being is in the well-being of others. So, maintaining COVID appropriate behaviour such as wearing masks properly, maintaining social distance and hand hygiene is paramount.
3. At the country level
Strategies to enforce the completion of vaccination among the population by prioritising the vulnerable groups will allow us to investigate the possibilities of streamlining the booster dose.
4. At the global level
Efforts to support each other globally in bringing the pandemic under control such as standardisation of vaccination, sharing the resources and studies to understand the need for the booster dose. This will help bring in a better understanding of the virus in its mutated form and to view that as an agent to bring in herd immunity.
Vaccination for the age group of 15-18 years
With our present achievement in vaccination to cover the majority of the 18+population, India has started administrating vaccines against COVID-19 for the age group of 15-18 years. The side effects are seen to be varying between just a local reaction as pain and swelling over the injection site or systemic reactions such as general exhaustion, body aches and fever. As warned for the other age groups, if one has any history of allergic reaction to any medication, they need to check with their family physician before vaccination.
Booster doses for senior citizens with co-morbidities and the frontline workers are being launched from January 10, 2022, in India. The third dose needs to be given 9-12 months after the second dose depending on the vaccine. The side effects expected from the booster dose include local pain over the injection site, exhaustion, body ache and fever.
There are clinical trials with vaccines made to protect people specifically against the omicron variant and are administered as a booster dose, but it is still under study.