As if Covid-19 wasn’t enough to worry about, people across the UK are now reporting coming down with the “worst cold ever”, with those suffering saying they are experiencing “horrible symptoms”.
With people continuing to socialise as coronavirus restrictions have eased, and the winter looming, it’s only natural that seasonal illness will start to spread.
So it might not come as a surprise that many people are getting ill – but many are explaining the symptoms as “the worst” ever.
One man, who lives in Formby, Merseyside, shared his experience on social media, saying it was the “worst lurgy he’s ever had”, the Mirror reports.
Another woman on Facebook said: "Yep, I've been full of cold for the last few days. First one in over two years and it's a doozy!"
Why is the worst cold ever spreading?
During the Covid-19 pandemic, when the UK was in lockdown, common illnesses such as the cold were at an all time low.
However, now restrictions have eased and the winter is coming, seasonal illnesses are back with a vengeance.
Dr Philippa Kaye, a London-based GP, told BBC: "We’ve actually been seeing a rise in the number of coughs and colds and viral infections.
“We are mixing in a way that we haven’t been mixing over the past 18 months.
“During those first lockdowns, we saw a number of other [non-Covid] infections fall. We think that was primarily due to the restrictions on meeting up.”
What are the symptoms to look out for?
Many people are reporting a sore throat described as "sandpaper throat", chesty cough and runny nose, and it's very difficult to shift.
It's important to note that some symptoms of a cold and Covid-19 overlap – but there are differences to help tell them apart.
Symptoms of a common cold, according to the NHS, include:
- a blocked or runny nose
- a sore throat
- muscle aches
- a raised temperature
- pressure in your ears and face
- loss of taste and smell
What are the symptoms of Covid – and how can you tell them apart?
The main symptoms of Covid-19, according to the NHS, are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
Professor Tim Spector previously appeared on This Morning to clear up any confusion.
'Worst cold ever' spreading across UK with stricken Brits struggling to recover
He explained to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield: “Many people – perhaps up to half of cases – are going unrecognised because they basically have symptoms that are very cold-like.
"So headache, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing – and the only one that gets into the top five is loss of smell or taste.
"We're now seeing that fever is very low down on the ranking of what we're seeing at the moment. Even rarer are things like shortness of breath or a persistent cough.
"It's a combination of factors but we've got to face the reality which is, most people out there with Covid are presenting with cold-like symptoms.”
When to get a Covid test
If it's just a cold, your symptoms can be managed at home.
However, because the symptoms can overlap, it's important to rule out Covid-19.
ZOE, the world’s largest ongoing study into Covid-19, said: "A negative result from a lateral flow test is not reliable enough to be sure you’re definitely not infected, so if your symptoms persist it’s best to get a PCR test to be sure."
If you have one of the main symptoms of coronavirus listed above, you must arrange a PCR test.
Stay at home and don't have visitors until you get your test result.
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