Worst cold ever is sweeping the UK - but how do you know it's not Covid?

People warning of the 'worst cold ever' that seems to be sweeping the UK.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 2:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 2:42 pm
People warning of the 'worst cold ever' that seems to be sweeping the UK.

There are reports up and down the country of a nasty bug doing the rounds, with people saying it's taking days - even weeks - to recover.

Health professionals are saying the reason it feels so bad is due to us spending so much time social distancing throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Philippa Kaye, confirmed that the numbers of infectious diseases are much higher at the moment than they normally would at this time of year.

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She said: "We've actually been seeing a rise in the number of coughs, colds and viral infections. We are mixing in a way that we haven't been mixing for the past 18 months. During those first lockdowns, we saw numbers of other [non-Covid] infections fall.

"We think that that was primarily due to the restrictions on meeting up."

How to know if it's a cold or Covid?

Basically, you can't Because while the typical symptoms of a cold are a headache, sore throat and runny nose, those symptoms are also now some of the main signs of Covid.

If you have any symptoms of the usual cold or flu, it is worth remembering that these can also be a sign of coronavirus infection.

If you have a continuous cough or a fever you should get a PCR test.

How to treat the illness - NHS guidance says you should treat a cold with:

Rest and sleep

Keep warm

Drink plenty of water (fruit juice or squash mixed with water is okay) to avoid dehydration

Gargle salt water to soothe a sore throat (not suitable for children)

The NHS say you should contact your GP if any of the following apply:

Your symptoms do not improve after 3 weeks

Your symptoms get suddenly worse

Your temperature is very high or you feel hot and shivery

You're concerned about your child's symptoms

You're feeling short of breath or develop chest pain

You have a long-term medical condition

You have a weakened immune system.

The guidance also states that you can avoid catching a cold by washing your hands regularly with warm water and soap, not sharing towels or other household items with someone who has a cold, staying fit and healthy, and avoiding touching your face.