I sincerely hoped 2022 would be different than 2021, which was a pretty terrible one for me. The New Year began well enough, but within a week small heath issues cropped up which thankfully have been resolved.
One of the resolutions for the new year we, as a couple made, was to covert one of the rooms into a proper workspace so that each of us has a separate nook and the others rooms stay clear of papers and laptops. This meant getting rid of a lot of things that we had stored in that room. When we were doing this revamp, my husband developed some throat irritation. I put that down to the dust during the cleaning, which he is very allergic to. However, with Omicron cases spreading like wildfire in my apartment complex, a few friends who we had met developed symptoms and later tested positive. While wishing them a speedy recovery, I was also worried for my husband who is very asthmatic. The experiences of the terrible 2021 played across my mind and created a lot of anxiety. We did a test, which thankfully came out negative. However, since he still had the irritation, we proactively decided to isolate and avoided stepping out of our home unnecessarily for a few days.
This incident and the rising caseload around me got me thinking that since the symptoms were mild, similar to the common flu, people were becoming a little lax and this, in turn, was causing the rapid spread. People were walking around without a mask, not declaring after home tests which became positive, clearly having symptoms of cough and cold but still out and about business and probably infecting others. While most people were recovering well, this lax behavior was putting others at risk. Since I follow the COIVID-19 daily counter for Karnataka and Bangalore, I could see that while the % age was low (due to a high no. of cases) the absolute number of deaths were high – most likely people who may have health issues, the elderly and the unvaccinated population.
With educational institutions, offices, and entertainment opening up, all of us must now exercise caution and act responsibly to keep ourselves and each other healthy.
A Few Simple Tips To Act Responsibly And Curb The Omicron Spread
- Follow COVID-19 appropriate behavior, even if you are vaccinated and have already got your booster shot. Mask up and maintain distance when in public. Wear the mask correctly and use one that fits well and is suggested by the relevant authorities.
- Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. I cannot emphasize enough on this one, as many of us have become complacent. Do this especially in public spaces where you are likely to touch surfaces that others have come in contact with, even if others give you weird looks or call you over-cautious. I have found that carrying a small spray bottle helps better than a gel bottle as it can be used both on the hand as well as sprayed on any surface.
- Avoid meeting people if you have any symptoms like a mild cold or cough. Even if your test comes back negative, it is better to stay home for a few days and recuperate than to meet people and spread it (even if it is just common flu). You will never really know what the immunity levels of another person are or what responsibilities they have which can be compromised due to a COVID infection.
- Even within your home, isolate yourself. Eat healthy wholesome food, take regular medications and monitor your vitals.
- Gargle with hot water and salt (or medicated on doctor’s advice) and take steam regularly. Take Vitamin supplements. We can do this as a preventive practice, even if we have no symptoms. You can also take immunity boosters after consulting with your doctor. There are many options available in Ayurvedic and Homeopathy as well if you don’t like to pop regular pills unnecessarily.
- Avoid gatherings with many people, especially if it is unnecessary. If it cannot be avoided, follow COVID-19 protocol and keep your mask on.
- If you are hosting, firstly ask yourself if it is absolutely necessary. Look at the numbers and try to keep them as small as possible. Also, look at options which are in the open than in closed spaces as there is better ventilation.
- As new variants of the COVID-19 virus come up, read up on all the symptoms and stay updated about the treatments.
- Lastly, learn to relax. This one is a note to self as I had panicked during this episode because I had met my parents and 97-year-old grandmom during this time as we both did not have any symptoms. This panic lead to a full-blown migraine that lasted for almost 2 weeks. Learn to relax, breathe and take things in your stride. Do something you like, exercise, or meditate to take your mind off things.
As life slowly returns to normalcy, it does not mean we have overcome the virus or that we can get complacent. It just means that many of us can no longer afford to stay in the safety of our homes. We have to learn to co-exist with the virus for the coming few years and act responsibly towards ourselves and others.