With so much developing rapidly in regards to the Corona virus and its variants, not only are South Floridians unsure of how to navigate the onslaught of new information, but also have questions on how to continue staying vigilant and healthy. Hospitalist nurse practitioner Dr. James Q Simmons joined us recently to answer questions everyone has about the pandemic and staying safe.
Dr. Simmons admits the changes and constant updates have even been confusing for him. For right now, the big difference is between those who are symptomatic and asymptomatic. When someone tests positive they have to self-isolate for five days, if the person was asymptomatic they can return to normal life while wearing a mask, and they do not have to test negative. If they did have symptoms to begin with, the same rules apply with the only difference being they have to go without a fever or symptoms without taking any medications for at least 24 hours, and then continue to wear a mask when they go back to work.
"Omicron is a very different variant than the ones we were dealing with before," he says. "it's primarily an upper respiratory disease. We're learning Omicron does not like to invade the lungs....which was making previous variants so dangerous."
Although the symptoms are less extreme, it's important to protect yourself especially if you have underlying conditions. Dr. Simmons says the best way to protect yourself is by masking with a good mask that fits snugly over your nose, specifically a K95.
The other way to protect yourself is getting vaccinated, he says. There has been a huge difference in patients who are vaccinated, those who have gotten two doses, and those who have gotten 3. Patients who are boosted with the third shot have been doing much better than the others, he says.
Follow Dr. Simmons on Instagram at @AskTheNP for more information on the ongoing changes and tips to stay healthy.