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What You Need in Your Omicron Survival Kit

By Skye Sherman  •   February 14, 2022

Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman
Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman

Omicron seems to be the name of the game these days. If you were fortunate enough to avoid the first wave of COVID as well as the Delta variant, you may have found yourself thinking you would no longer be at risk of contracting COVID. However, it seems the Omicron variant came for everyone who didn’t suffer the first few waves of this deadly virus… or will be soon.

While by and large, the Omicron variant seemed to come with more mild symptoms than COVID-19 and the Delta variant, for many people, the experience was still extremely unpleasant if not fatal. If you get COVID or know someone who does in the coming months, you will want to have an Omicron survival kit on hand to use or provide to a loved one in need.

The items in an Omicron survival kit can make the sickness period shorter or at least less miserable while you endure it. While there is no cure for COVID, some medicines and treatments can help to relieve symptoms and shorten the duration of the virus.

In this article, we interview real people who had the Omicron strain of COVID to find out what helped them the most through their battle with the sickness. Read on for all the must-have necessities for getting well, or everything you need to have in your Omicron survival kit (or send it as a care package to a loved one who gets sick).

How is Omicron different from other strains of COVID?

Before you read on about what you need in your Omicron survival kit, it’s important to consider how the Omicron variant differs from former strains of COVID. Since the symptoms are risk levels are not the same, the way you treat it might not be the same, either.

For one thing, Omicron spreads more easily than previous strains of COVID, which explains why so many people got it (even those who were vaccinated, boosted, and/or who had had COVID before). “The Omicron variant spreads more easily than the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Delta variant,” according to the CDC. “CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.”

While the symptoms are similar, they do differ somewhat from COVID-19 and the Delta variant, according to the CDC. “Persons infected with the Omicron variant can present with symptoms similar to previous variants. The presence and severity of symptoms can be affected by COVID-19 vaccination status, the presence of other health conditions, age, and history of prior infection.”

However, perhaps the biggest (and most positive) difference is the outcomes of the Omicron variant. “Omicron infection generally causes less severe disease than infection with prior variants,” the CDC reports. “Preliminary data suggest that Omicron may cause more mild disease, although some people may still have severe disease, need hospitalization, and could die from the infection with this variant. Even if only a small percentage of people with Omicron infection need hospitalization, the large volume of cases could overwhelm the healthcare system which is why it’s important to take steps to protect yourself.”

Still, there are some important variations in symptoms of the Omicron strain. The BBC reports, “Omicron appears to be more like a cold for some people, with common reported symptoms including a sore throat, runny nose and a headache. Previous Covid variants were more likely to lead to a loss of taste or smell, a new cough and a high temperature - although these are still the three official symptoms.”

Though Omicron spreads much faster than Delta, it tends to be milder and people who get it are less likely to get as ill or need to be hospitalized. It seems booster vaccines and previous infections are helping to protect people from worse symptoms and outcomes.

Is Omicron better than former strains of COVID?

The good news is that Omicron seems to be much less dangerous and deadly than previous strains (though fatality from the Omicron variant is still a possibility, especially for high-risk individuals). While the CDC states that monoclonal antibody treatments may help in some cases, they also recommend being up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccines for the best possible outcome from Omicron.

“Scientists are still learning how effective COVID-19 vaccines are at preventing infection from Omicron,” reports the CDC. “Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are vaccinated are likely to occur. People who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines and get COVID-19 are less likely to develop serious illness than those who are unvaccinated and get COVID-19.”

You should also note that a COVID-19 test can only tell you whether or not you are infected with COVID-19, not which strain you have.

What you need in your Omicron survival kit

While there is no cure for COVID, there are treatments available that can provide you relief from your symptoms. “I lived off of DayQuil and NyQuil during my first few days of COVID,” says John, 44. “It was the only thing that provided me relief from the extreme body aches, and helped me get a very restful sleep each night, which I think helped my body recover faster. I slept nearly 24 hours in one weekend when I first contracted COVID.” DayQuil and NyQuil can help with common Omicron symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, and headache.

Some other common symptoms of COVID are congestion, sinus pressure, headaches, and overall body aches. Having a decongestant as well as acetaminophen (popularly known under its most common brand name, Tylenol) on hand can help ease the pain and congestion. Just make sure to take both medicines exactly as directed on the box or by your health care provider, because overdoing it can be dangerous if you take too much.

Vitamins and supplements such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc, quercetin, and elderberry are vital for the healing process. You will want to have an ample supply of all these supplements so you can be taking them to help your body strengthen and heal. These supplements are known to help shorten the duration of COVID and boost your immune system, helping your body fight off the virus and any other ailment that may befall you.

One person who recently had COVID said that taking a relaxing bath helped immensely with her symptoms, which included fatigue and severe muscle aches. “Taking a hot bath was very soothing and helped keep my fluctuating temperature under control,” says Sara, age 29. “I added a cup of lavender epsom salts with magnesium to give my body added relief.”

If you send an Omicron survival kit to a loved one or pack one for yourself, make sure to include a bath bomb or some bath salts to help ease muscle and bone aches. The relaxing aroma will also help to ease the discomfort and stress of the illness.

COVID at-home self-test kits are another must-have. You will want to have a few tests on hand not only so you can test yourself when you first develop symptoms, but also to test yourself as you begin feeling better so you know when it’s safe to emerge into public again. Instead of driving around to COVID test sites, you will have at-home test kits on hand so you can take health and safety decisions into your own hands. It helps to be informed and feel in control.

ABC News agrees: “It'll also be important to have a supply of rapid antigen tests available, ideally at least two per person in the household; one to establish whether there's an infection and another to follow up with later on in the isolation period.” They also recommend disposable gloves, surgical or N95 masks, extra cleaning products, pain medication, a thermometer to monitor fevers, a pulse oximeter to measure oxygen levels, a two-week supply of any regular medication, and ample healthy food and clean drinking water.

Another essential component of COVID (or any sickness) is staying hydrated. As your sleeping and diet changes due to your illness, you may forget to drink enough water. Your body will also need more fluids than usual to ensure it has what it needs to be strong enough to fight off the virus. Keep lots of fluids and electrolytes on board to help your body flush the virus and avoid getting dehydrated. You will feel much worse than you need to if you end up getting dehydrated.

Some people find relief from getting a monoclonal antibody infusion within their first few days of symptoms and some people swear by taking ivermectin to help them kick COVID fast. While ivermectin is accessible as an at-home treatment, you will have to go to a certified facility to get an infusion (or series of injections) of monoclonal antibodies.

Some people are also recommending the traditional Chinese medicine of Lianhua-Qingwen. Available in capsule form, this commonly used Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in China has 11 herb components and “can target specific molecules and perform many clinic treatment roles,” according to a study. It is not an approved COVID treatment by Western doctors but may be worth a try if you are interested in alternative treatment options and supplements.

Lastly, don’t forget the entertainment! Being sick with COVID is the perfect time to catch up on TV shows and books, as long as you feel up to it. If your symptoms aren’t severe, you still have to quarantine and may not be able to work, so you might as well try to enjoy your time. MindFood recommends: “You should also consider gathering some boredom busters to keep you entertained, such as magazines, books, puzzles, games, or even a list of the latest TV shows to watch.”

Feel better soon!

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Disclaimer:

The purpose of the above content is to raise awareness only and does not advocate treatment or diagnosis. This information should not be substituted for your physician's consultation and it should not indicate that use of the drug is safe and suitable for you or your (pet). Seek professional medical advice and treatment if you have any questions or concerns.