School is Back, but What About COVID?
School is back in session. Kids are returning to in-person learning, which is good for many reasons. However, what does this mean for COVID infection rates and the new highly contagious Delta variant? As the data rolls in and we learn more about the infection rates, follow these tips to protect your children and yourself from contracting the new Delta variant.
Continue to wear a mask: Wearing a mask can be a simple and effective way to protect yourself and your children. By wearing a snug and tight fitting mask, not only do you keep your germs to yourself, you can also protect yourself from other people's germs. Make sure your mask fits you properly, covering snugly around your nose, cheeks and chin. It should lay flat against all surfaces and have no holes or openings. You can also purchase cloth masks with interior filters for an extra layer of protection. And of course n95 masks can also be used in high risks settings. These masks are very secure and suction to the face. The mask materials are meant to capture very small particles to reduce the chance of infection.
Keep things outside: Keeping your children's activities outdoors in a well ventilated area will also help reduce the chance of infection. It is harder for airborne particles to travel in well ventilated areas and the particles are often broken down by circulating air. Therefore, the chance of exposure to large amounts of viral particles in reduced.
Vaccinate and get a booster: Thus far, the data on Delta shows those who are vaccinated are largely sparred from serious illness and infection. However, this can be largely impacted by the amount of antibodies that exist in your blood stream. If you were vaccinated 6-8 month ago, it may be a good idea to have your anti-body levels assessed by your doctor (or at a testing site). Then you can determine if a booster shot is needed to help keep your antibodies at the effective level to fend of serious infection. More data is being released each day on the correct amount of antibodies. The bottom line is vaccination lessens the negative effects of Delta.
Get tested regularly: Another great way to help stop the spread of Delta is to test regularly. As new data shows, some people can be asymptomatic and carry the virus. Testing regularly can be a way to identify if you are a carrier of the virus. Additionally the first sign of symptoms can be the most reliable time to test for the virus. The rapid COVID test can be up to 80% reliable during this period. The PCR COVID test still has proven to be a bit more reliable, although test results take longer.
Avoid large indoor gatherings: Unfortunately with the surge in Delta infections we still need to be mindful about large events. Viral infection rate is related to the amount of time spent with someone infected and the viral load (amount of virus particles) you are exposed to. So spending a long time indoors, in an unventilated area with a lot people, may put you at the greatest risk of infection. So limit your time indoors to less than 15 minutes, wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep your distance from people (who may be infected).
For more information on COVID and the Delta variant. visit the CDC website by clicking here.