Discussing the Delta Variant With Clients in Substance Use Treatment
Controversy surrounding vaccines, masks, and Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to invade people’s lives. New variants have led counties, states, and the federal government to consider reversing their business occupancy and mask regulations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises those who have the vaccine against COVID to return to wearing a mask. The ever-changing regulations can increase anxiety in those with mental health disorders or a substance use disorder (SUD).
The Delta variant is quickly spreading across the nation. Unfortunately, the spread affects everyone, especially the unvaccinated and those with health risks.
The Delta Variant
The Delta variant was first discovered in India and has since traveled to the U.S. While the medical community works to understand the new variant and how it operates, the CDC recommends that people learn about the variant and how they can prevent the spread.
How Contagious Is the Delta Variant?
Researchers tracking the Delta variant discovered that this divergent form of COVID-19 is highly contagious. The new strain passes from person to person contact. In addition, the transference time of the virus has increased in comparison to the novel virus. The CDC has declared the Delta virus a “variant of concern” because of its increased transmission and viral load rates.
Are There Increased Risks?
Those who are unvaccinated and diagnosed with COVID-19 from the Delta variant are at an increased risk of hospitalization. Researchers also found that the Delta variant is riskier than the Alpha variant. While the severity of the illness compared to others is unknown, researchers hypothesize the increased viral load in the Delta variant leads to an increased risk of severe disease.
What People Should Know About the COVID Vaccine
- The COVID-19 vaccine is effective and can help our patients remain virus-free.
- Vaccines for COVID-19 decrease the risk of the virus spreading from person to person.
- A person who receives the vaccine may have side effects, but they are normal and will resolve themselves. Side effects include:
- Pain in the injection site
- Inflammation or tenderness
- Muscle pain
- After the vaccine is administered, the body can take two weeks to build an immunity to COVID-19. So if a person gets one of the two-dose vaccines, they aren’t protected until they receive the second injection.
- People should follow the CDC’s guidelines regarding social activities.
- Researchers are investigating the effectiveness of the vaccine for those who are immuno-compromised. In addition, the CDC includes those who are undergoing medical interventions like chemo or similar medications.
- Researchers hope to learn how long the vaccine will protect against COVID-19.
- Experts also hope to discover how many people need to be vaccinated for population immunity. Population immunity is achieved when many people are either vaccinated or had COVID-19 and carry antibodies.
- As variant strains of the COVID-19 virus appear, scientists and doctors watch how effective current vaccines prevent contagion.
How to Decrease the Risk of Being Infected
People can take steps to decrease their risk of catching and spreading COVID-19 or any of its variants. By following CDC recommendations and remaining cautious, a person can cut back their risk.
The CDC urges people who are unvaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine. While some may contract COVID-19 or the Delta variant even after they are vaccinated, the CDC reports their illness is less severe than those who are unvaccinated.
A few tips for those who aren’t vaccinated, whether because they are ineligible or chose not to have the vaccine, are:
- Wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth. Mask wearing in public areas or crowded and poorly ventilated spaces decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19.
- When a person is in a social or business situation, the CDC recommends staying at least six feet apart.
- Personal hygiene is essential. Taking the time to wash hands or use generous amounts of sanitizer makes a difference. A good guideline for how long to wash is to count to 20 or sing “Happy Birthday.”
- Continue to monitor the rate of COVID-19 infection, including which variants are in your community.
Those who are vaccinated yet feel safer by continuing to follow CDC guidelines for the unvaccinated are welcome to continue their safety precautions.
Availability of Vaccines
Vaccines are available throughout the U.S. In addition, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and health centers continue to carry and administer them regularly. One perk is these facilities waive the cost of the vaccine.
COVID-19 is a novel virus, and that’s why guidelines and recommendations are evolving. First, clients should learn how to decrease their risk of catching COVID-19 or any of its variants. Another aspect of learning is sharing how researchers study COVID-19 mutations, how the virus spreads, rates of infection, and community transmission.
COVID-19 information is evolving because researchers are still trying to understand the original strain and its developing variants. As the data comes in, changes to guidelines and recommendations evolve. The CDC aims to expose how COVID-19 is transferred from person to person while creating a vaccine to protect against the virus and all of its strains along the way. In the meantime, emerging information and fear of the unknown can cause stress and anxiety in anybody, especially those with a SUD. Encouraging your client to engage in individual or group therapy can reduce anxiety and depression. Alta Centers, located in Los Angeles, remains dedicated to keeping our clients safe and protected against COVID-19. We follow the guidelines set by the CDC and the state of California. Our clients and their health are our top priority. To learn more about our COVID-19 precautions or our detoxification program, call us today at (888) 202-2583.