We won’t be able to get out of this quickly.

We won't be able to get out of this quickly.

In an email interview to Moneycontrol, she talks about the Omicron variant, how it differs from the Delta strain and why antibiotics don’t help edited excerpts. We do see reinfections from patients who had previous Delta or any of the other variants (patients suffered more than six months ago from any such variants) etc, but not with Omicron yet. Yes, it is true, also patients who had other variants before, fully vaccinated, can get/have got infected.

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, the South African doctor who initially alerted authorities to the Omicron variation of the coronavirus, believes the pandemic will last for a long time, putting a stop to hopes that the fast-spreading strain would elicit herd immunity. New varieties will almost certainly continue to emerge in the foreseeable future, according to the 62-year-old Pretoria-based private practitioner, who is also the chair of the South African Medical Association.

One should know the symptoms as to understand when you are sick/infected. Then get the appropriate test done, rapid test vs PCR testing and if positive, see your doctor, especially if you are above 50 years and are suffering from chronic diseases/immune-compromising diseases, etc. Wear masks, stay away from crowds, get vaccinated.

Most important, use your common sense and not Facebook or Twitter or whatever your favourite social platforms are. There is no role for antibiotics. These medicines help only if you get a secondary bacterial infection. This depends on the brands, technique, etc. Unfortunately, we are not using home kits yet. Omicron’s clinical picture is that of a mild disease for most patients. This only means that the patient can be safely treated at home conservatively, no need for oxygen, etc. Severe disease means that the patient needs admission, needs oxygen, most cases have pneumonia, some need to be ventilated…this is not what the majority of people (are) clinically present with.

If a patient gets a severe disease, it will usually happen about 7-10 days later, after presenting in most cases with mild disease. Omicron gives musculoskeletal pain, scratchy throat, might have blocked nose, might have a dry cough. Delta will present with loss of smell/taste, sore throat, might have a fever, might have a tachycardia, lower oxygen levels; progresses fast to severe disease needing oxygen. Clotting is also a problem if progressing to severe disease.

For still a long time to come…we are not going to get out of this easily. Different clinical picture, good history taking and daily physical examination of patients daily, years of clinical experience lets one develop a sixth sense!

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