There’s been a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Australia in the last few weeks.
Experts believe this is because of a new Omicron variant that’s highly contagious.
We take a look at what this means for you and how you can protect yourself and your family.
What is the new COVID-19 variant?
The new variant is called the Omicron variant XBB.
While the recent rise in COVID-19 cases may be traced to this variant, the Department of Health and Aged Care is keen to stress that it doesn’t pose a greater risk of serious illness or death.
They also say that vaccination can provide protection against getting seriously unwell or dying from COVID-19.
What does this mean?
This Omicron XBB variant is spreading in the community and signals a new wave of COVID-19 in Australia.
This is because new variants can often still infect people who have already had COVID-19 or who are vaccinated (though it’s important to understand that vaccination is recommended and can stop you from getting seriously ill).
This has always been expected and is part and parcel of getting used to living with COVID-19.
What can I do to help reduce the spread of infection?
We can all play a part in stopping COVID-19 variants from spreading further. Here’s how:
1. Get vaccinated
While there is no specific vaccine for the new COVID-19 variant, the regular vaccine is the best way to protect against severe illness or death from any variant of COVID-19.
Vaccination is also believed to protect against the symptoms of long COVID.
That’s why it’s so important to keep up with your vaccinations. Make sure you have your third or fourth dose if they are due and do it sooner rather than later as we are likely to experience another wave of the disease.
You can find out more about COVID-19 vaccinations here.
2. Wear face masks
It’s good to have a supply of face masks available for when you need them.
Wear one if you are in a public place indoors or a crowded environment outdoors. Doing so will help protect you from infection and reduce the risk of you infecting other people.
Make sure that you wash your reusable face mask after every wear and change your mask regularly.
3. Wash your hands regularly
It’s really important to keep your hands clean to avoid catching or passing on any type of infection.
Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds each time.
You can also use hand sanitiser in between hand-washing.
4. Stay at home if you’re unwell
Stay at home if you have symptoms of COVID-19, which include:
- High temperature
- New continuous cough
- A change to or loss of your sense of smell or taste
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
You can also take a test at home. If you’re positive, stay at home until your symptoms have gone.
Make sure you take care to avoid people who are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19. This includes people who have:
- A long-term condition like chronic kidney disease or sickle cell disease
- Down’s syndrome
- Severe or multiple learning disabilities
- A condition that affects the immune system
- Certain types of cancer, such as leukaemia
How can I treat COVID-19 at home?
If you test positive for COVID-19 and have mild symptoms, you should:
- Rest at home
- Take paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain or fever
- Use cooling products for fever
- Drink plenty of fluids
If you are concerned about any of your symptoms, contact a doctor for help and advice.
Staying safe from infection
New variants are part of living with COVID-19 and new waves of infection long-term.
But there are plenty of steps you can take to stay safe from the new Omicron variant and other types of infection.
And it’s good to know that FeverMates is here to help you do this. Our collection of wellbeing products is designed to help you take charge of your health and stay safe.
Have a browse of our collection so you can protect yourself and your community against many other types of infection too.