DALLAS — Christmas is here!
And, unfortunately, so is COVID.
So, what happens if you get sick before the holidays?
Use this guide below to help you out.
Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone - fully vaccinated or not - who tests positive for COVID isolate for 10 days.
But what if you simply come into contact with someone who has COVID-19?
The CDC defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. You should follow these guidelines:
Fully vaccinated with no symptoms: The CDC says you do not need to quarantine, but you should get tested 5-7 days after your exposure. Also, you should wear a mask indoors in public until you get a negative test result.
Not fully-vaccinated (meaning the scheduled dose, with a booster): The CDC recommends you stay home for 14 days.
As always, keep an eye on your symptoms, which can include loss of taste and smell.
Dr. Robert Gottlieb with the Baylor, Scott & White Research Institute in Dallas said another symptom might also be a loss of appetite.
"A lot of people may not feel hungry," he said. "It is important to remember to eat."
Monoclonal antibody treatment is an option for high-risk COVID patients - but act quickly to get a referral.
"It's important that people don't wait at home passively," Gottlieb said. "Instead, they actually should get on the phone with their health care provider."
And what about these COVID pills?
Gottlieb said he thinks the Pfizer product called paxlovid, one of the two pills the FDA authorized this week, could be "a game changer."
The other pill approved for use is from Merck, known as molnupiravir.
Both were shown to reduce the severity of COVID illness, hospitalization or death, but studies show Pfizer's drug was roughly three times more effective among high-risk patients compared to Merck’s.
- Merck = 30%
- Pfizer = 89%
However, neither of the pulls are available just yet - and might not be until early January. That means the next best bet is to get fully-vaccinated and continue to follow health and safety guidelines, like hand-washing, masking and social distancing.
Meanwhile, White House COVID Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said they're working on getting them to people as soon as possible.
"As quickly as Pfizer gets the pills manufactured and delivered, we will immediately provide them to states and jurisdictions for distribution," he said.