Covid vs cold: Why your immune system is struggling with the ‘worst cold ever’
NHS advises how to treat a common cold
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As people continue to go about their restriction-free lives, they have exposed themselves not just to Covid but an array of other pathogens as well. The common cold, which, like Covid, tends to favour chillier months, is on the rise once again. Only this time, many people’s immune systems are woefully unprepared.
Over the last few days, some people have reported feeling the “worst cold ever.”
They have developed a sore throat, stuffy or runny nose on a new level of severity.
Others have experienced coughs eerily similar to those reported during a Covid infection, only to find their test comes back negative.
In some cases, these symptoms have lasted weeks, and experts believe there is a straightforward reason as to why.
Government data shows rhinovirus cases are on the rise and have coincided with the new school term. Rhinovirus is the main culprit behind the common cold.
While this explains the infection rate, scientists have partly blamed an “immunity debt” for the severity.
People have spent the last year going to great lengths to prevent potentially deadly Covid from invading their immune systems.
The move has protected millions but left them with a body now less prepared to tackle infections.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Dr Ronald Eccles, a professor at Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, said people would expose themselves to rhinoviruses on a “Daily or weekly” basis.
Dr Eccles, who also founded the Common Cold Centre at the university in 1988, added people are now like “athletes out of condition.”
The result, he said, is that people’s bodies are “overreacting” to foreign pathogens.
Although another disease is going around at present, this doesn’t mean people should stop worrying about Covid.
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Before anyone explains away their experience as the common cold, they should double and triple-check their symptoms.
While most people now have a vaccination, some vulnerable Britons may not have the required immunity.
As such, they still risk severe and deadly repercussions from contracting Covid.
Knowing the symptoms and then testing more than once will help people ensure they don’t pass on a case of Covid while thinking it is a cold.
Common cold symptoms traditionally include one or more of the following:
- A stuffy, runny or blocked nose
- A sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Raised or high temperature (38C+)
- Ear or face pressure
- Loss of taste or smell (most common with a blocked nose)
Covid symptoms include:
- A high temperature (38C+)
- A new, continuous cough that presents in coughing episodes
- A loss of or change to sense of smell and taste
The Delta variant often comes with symptoms more reminiscent of a cold, including:
- A headache
- A sore throat
- A runny nose
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