Haley’s Health Inbox: Two common questions this week

This is Haley’s Health Inbox newsletter in which she answers YOUR questions. To subscribe so it comes straight to your e-mail, visit click2houston.com/newsletters.

This week was one of those weeks where I kept getting the same questions.

First, how do I know what variant I have?

This is a question I keep getting. I think the fear surrounding Omicron makes people curious about which variant they have if they get an infection.

The truth is, when experts say a percentage of all cases are of the Omicron variant, it really means of the cases they are checking for variants, that’s the percentage that are from Omicron. Not all testing sites screen for a variant.

Here’s an older story I did that sort of explains genome sequencing: Omicron variant in Houston area :

Now I know what you’re thinking – if not all positive cases are screened for a variant, how do they know when one variant becomes the dominant strain?

In this case, especially because of wastewater testing, Omicron appears to be taking over as the most common infection.

The next frequent question - Why are so many people getting tested?

This is the second most common question this week. By now we all know there are long lines for testing, rapid-tests have been bought up from stores for weeks, and appointments online are booked for days or weeks.

The reason for people testing can vary: travel, recent exposure, suffering with symptoms. I can’t say I’ve heard of one reason being more common than another, but the increased testing confirms there is a lot of coronavirus in our community. Additionally, those with symptoms may also be feeling symptoms of a cold or flu. Flu is making a comeback in US after an unusual year off . You should call your doctor to discuss concerns about your symptoms.

Just remember, the whole world is short staffed right now, so please be nice and stay safe!