Doctors discuss natural immunity, post-COVID activities

At this point in the current COVID-19 surge, it seems everyone knows someone dealing with an infection. As people with mild cases start to feel better and come out of quarantines, many are wondering what omicron immunity actual means.

"Waiting for things to end is kinda the theme of the past, and the theme of current is living with this," said Dr. Madeline Gagnon from Gillette Children’s Hospital.

FOX 9 chatted with Dr. Gagnon during her family trip to Florida, which includes her now-vaccinated seven-year-old twins. On the packing list were plenty of masks for plane ride or any indoor gatherings. 

"We want to make mitigation a part of our lifestyle, but continue to go on and do the things we’ve always enjoyed doing," said Gagnon.

Gagnon recommends those recovering from the current COVID surge to also continue mitigation strategies such as masking in large indoor spaces, and keeping up with the latest vaccines available to their age group. She also points out for those who have fully recovered from COVID, the CDC community guidelines indicate quarantine isn’t needed for 90 days unless symptoms develop. But if symptoms arise isolating and testing is recommended. 

Dr. David Hilden, an internal medicine physician at Hennepin Healthcare and host of the new Healthy Matters podcast offers advice about coming out of COVID quarantines. 

"So that means that families that have recently tested positive are kinda treated similar to those that are vaccinated and boosted, which allows especially if it went through the entire family to have more flexibility in the community," says Gagnon.

"If you vaccinated, and you are also boosted, and you got a breakthrough infection, you are about the safest person there is," said Dr. David Hilden, an internal medicine physician at Hennepin Healthcare and host of the new Healthy Matters podcast.

Dr. Hilden says natural immunity post-COVID isn’t talked about enough, yet tells his patients to keep in mind – especially with omicron it’s not clear how long protections last. For those who have shied away from things ranging from sporting events to indoor entertainment to air travel, both doctors say there will likely forever be some level of risk – yet the first 90 days following COVID recovery the risk level is somewhat reduced. 

"I would tell people to go about normal activities to the degree you can control your own transmission.  So in other words, if you have recovered and you are going on a trip, you can control most of that – you can still wear a mask on the airplane, you can go to places at the theme parks or wherever you might be going on vacation," said Hilden. "I would start to go back to normal activities, but if there are people that are unvaccinated, particularly young children, I would be a little extra careful – wear masks, and get vaccinations."