In the last two weeks, the news cycle has been dominated by omicron, the latest variation of COVID-19.
It has caught many off-guard and boosted stress levels as people worldwide look to spend time with loved ones over the holidays.
So far, the data about omicron is encouraging but also slightly confusing. It appears to be significantly more contagious than other COVID-19 variants, but the symptoms appear to be far milder. So far, it does not appear to be more severe or as severe as different variants.
The vaccines also do not appear to be as effective in preventing omicron infection.
If you’re feeling stressed about your coming holiday plans, you are certainly not alone on top of the regular seasonal stress.
Keeping your plans as safe as possible can be done with a personal risk assessment and some other measures.
One of the most important things you can do is limit the number of people you’re around. The more people you’ve got in a small space (or even a large one), the greater the risk of transmission, so keep that in mind.
Some data suggests that keeping a window open, or even letting fresh air into the space for 10-minutes every hour, can significantly reduce viral particles in the air. If you live in a warm area, consider moving your festivities outdoor.
It’s also important to consider your own health status. If you’ve got a chronic condition, you are at greater risk for a severe infection, particularly if you remain unvaccinated. Further, you may want to consider the vaccination status of your guests.
If you have access to rapid tests, having guests take one before coming can also help reduce the risk.
For many, stress levels are already high this time of year. If the COVID resurgence is adding to your stress, consider measures you can take to reduce the risk and lower your anxiety.