Protecting Against Omicron—Do I Need to Do Anything Differently?

By Amichai Perlman, PhD, PharmD
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
December 6, 2021

In light of the new Omicron variant, many people have been asking if we should be wearing two masks or switching to an N95 mask.

While the introduction a new variant may seem nerve-racking, we are not back at square one. Sticking with the protection strategies that have been proven to work for previous variants is the surest way to reduce your risk of Omicron as well.

Despite what you may have heard in the media, doctors and researchers do not yet know how contagious Omicron is, or if it causes severe illness or potentially evades vaccine protection.

However, we have learned a lot about the coronavirus in general since the pandemic began.

What to Do to Protect Yourself

Studies show that wearing masks, washing your hands and physical distancing are still the best ways to reduce your risk of transmitting or catching any variant of coronavirus.

Getting vaccinated and getting the booster shot when eligible are also extremely important to protect yourself.

In terms of masks, it’s important to know that studies show any type of mask works significantly better at protecting against the coronavirus than going maskless. Well-fitted masks are also incredibly important.

There have been data showing that two-masks may be better than one, however we’re not sure how practical it is for most people to wear two.

While we don’t have all the answers yet, vaccines have continued to prove extremely effective in reducing transmission and the severity of the virus against several new variants.

Also, while this new variant may cause worry, know that the Delta variant is still the most common variant right now.

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Amichai Perlman, PhD, PharmD

Dr. Perlman is a clinical pharmacist and pharmacoepidemiologist, with over 10 years of experience advising patients and clinicians on medication use, personalization, and safety. He has extensively published peer-reviewed research addressing medication safety.