Newest COVID-19 strain: how to protect yourself and stop the spread

COVID-19 personal use at home test kits that give results in 15 minutes. Viiticus l Wikimedia Commons

COVID-19’s newest form, BA.286, is a new strain that consists of 34 different mutations of the Omicron variant that has caused a recent spike in cases across the United States. According to a study by the Center of Disease Control, hospitalizations have spiked since this August among people of all ages.

Although the Center for Disease Control officially declared COVID-19 no longer a national emergency back in May, it continues to linger in densely populated spaces, and the CDC has implemented guidelines into everyday lives to further protect people.

“CDC has been working for many months to fold the agency’s COVID-19 emergency response activities into its existing structure and programs, as part of an ongoing transition to sustainable public health practice,” The Center for Disease Control said.

Symptoms of the new strain include a sore throat, congestion, fever, body aches and headaches, and is a similar feeling to the flu. 

With colder weather around the corner, here are some ways you can protect yourself from  COVID-19.

Improving ventilation in spaces is a great way of preventing contraction. Like most viruses, it is more likely to thrive in areas with still air flow. Creating natural ventilation forces particles to virus particles out of the area, and allows for fresh air to enter the room. Some options to increase ventilation include opening windows, keeping thermostats, air purifiers, and fans on.

If you are immunocompromised or vitamin deficient, your chances of contracting COVID-19 are higher. Maintaining a healthy immune system should remain a priority while protecting yourself against COVID-19. Multivitamins can help strengthen the body against the virus, although research has never concluded they can fully prevent contraction.

“Vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, herbal supplements, probiotics, and other dietary supplement ingredients might also affect immunity and inflammation,” The National Institute of Health states

Consult with a doctor prior to adding any supplements to your diet.

Vaccines are the best measure at preventing COVID-19 and possibly weakening the symptoms of those infected. Although you are still able to contract the virus with the vaccine, it significantly lessens the chance of having serious symptoms, hospitalization, and death from the virus. 

CDC recommends that everyone stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, especially people with weakened immune systems,The Center for Disease Control states

Many options of the vaccine are readily available in the United States today.

One of the best things you can do in order to protect yourself is staying informed about the virus, and staying up to date with changes in CDC guidelines and COVID-19 statistics around you. 

If someone you have been in contact with recently contracts COVID-19, make sure to test regularly for the following few days and maintain awareness of any changes to your health, the CDC states.

Saddleback College campus clinic in the village offers free COVID testing to students and staff. If needed, pre-register for testing or drop in through the Campus Clinic.