It has been more than three years, but the world continues to reel against the microscopic villain, Covid-19. While infections are not as dangerous as they were at the beginning of the pandemic, the threat still looms large. Since Covid variants have the tendency to mutate, there’s no certainty which variant might trigger the next wave. With new Omicron variants XXB, and BQ.1 entering India, it is crucial to keep your guard up against the disease.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Umang Agrawal, Infectious Diseases Consultant, PD Hinduja Hospital and MRC, Mahim, Mumbai to help you understand if Omicron’s new variants are more dangerous and how to safeguard yourself.
Here’s what you need to know about Omicron’s new variants
New Omicron variants have entered India and they are causing the infections to rise at a rapid pace. XXB, BQ.1, BQ.1.1, and BF.7 are among the latest Omicron variants causing a significant rise in COVID cases in the country.
“Virus have a natural tendency to mutate. So, it is not a surprise that a new omicron variant has recently been discovered. As per the World Health Organisation, the data received to date pertaining to this variant does not indicate it to be more dangerous or cause severe disease or more ICU admissions. They have, however seen an increasing incidence of reinfection with this particular variant predominantly in those who had been infected prior to the omicron Era,” explains Dr Agrawal.
“There have been some reports suggesting that cases of long Covid have increased. However, with regards to my own practice, I have not really seen a lot of patients coming in with long Covid at least presently. More data is required to substantiate this particular finding. As for the symptoms, this particular variant is similar to any other variant of Covid or Omicron at present,” he states.
However people who have low immunity are at a higher risk of getting a severe infection, as per the expert. The risk of infection also depends on the precautions you take against Covid, including social distancing and masking. The severity of the disease depends on the immune system of the host. This is the reason you need to boost your immunity.
Immunity-boosting foods to fight Omicron
Pavithra N Raj, Chief Dietitian, Manipal Hospitals, Yeshwanthpur, Bengaluru shared a list of immunity-boosting foods with Health Shots.
1. Protein-rich foods
Protein is a must in your immunity diet. It also keeps your lungs safe from diseases. Eggs, almonds, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, milk, oats, salmon, etc. are some of the foods that you can include in your diet. You can also add protein-rich snacks like boiled groundnuts, boiled eggs, Sundal, boiled corn, soya and boiled gram usli.
2. Vitamin C rich foods
A natural supplement and antioxidant, vitamin C will help keep your body healthy and ward off infection faster. One of the best sources of vitamin C is Amla. Not only does it help boost immunity, but also your metabolism and prevent viral and bacterial infections.
3. Vitamin B6 foods
It is a crucial vitamin that supports the biochemical reaction in the immune system. Oatmeal, wheat germ, brown rice, soya beans and eggs are good sources to include in your diet.
4. Vitamin E
A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E helps fight infections like Covid. Plant oils, vegetables, nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E.
5. Black pepper
Since black pepper contains antibacterial properties, it can be a good addition to your diet. You can sprinkle some on everyday dishes to make the most of it.
6. Herbal teas
Hail tea lovers, you are in for a treat! Herbal teas containing cinnamon, pepper, basil, cardamom or ginger can be a great addition to your immunity-boosting diet. They are generally rich in antibacterial properties and antioxidants.
7. Turmeric milk
The antibacterial and antigen properties in a glass of milk with a tinge of turmeric should be enough to convince you to make it a part of your diet.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated! Drink 3-4 litre of water every day to detox and remove toxins from your body.