Covid or the ‘worst cold ever’: Symptoms of COVID-19 and a cold compared – GP explains

Coronavirus: Half of current cases 'unrecognised' says expert

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Many people are reporting that they are experiencing very bad colds, and being surprised to find that their coronavirus tests are coming back negative. In many spaces there is now no longer a legal requirement to wear a mask, and social distancing is not enforced. Coupled with the opening of schools and universities, it is perhaps unsurprising to see a rise in colds.

A GP has explained why some people are reporting worse cold symptoms than we might normally expect.

Dr Philippa Kaye told BBC Newsbeat: “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.

Rebecca London, 24, from Bournemouth told the BBC she caught a cold at a festival and it was “the worst ever”.

Lockdown restrictions designed to stop Covid spreading, also inhibited other viruses being spread between people.

“Most of these things are respiratory driven, so say somebody talks or coughs or sneezes – you breathe it in,” explains Dr Kaye.

It is important to remember that there are three main symptoms of coronavirus. If you have one of these main three, you should get a PCR test.

If you think you might have the coronavirus, but are without these symptoms, you should be able to acquire a free lateral flow test.

Covid symptoms include a new and continuous cough, a temperature above 37.8C and changes in smell or taste, where either you cannot taste or smell anything, or these senses are different to normal.

Symptoms of a common cold include a blocked or runny nose, a sore throat and sneezing, according to the NHS.

The symptoms are the same in adults and children. Sometimes symptoms last longer in children.

Some of the symptoms of coronavirus may be less common for a cold, like a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell, but the NHS states that these could be either Covid or a cold.

Therefore, if you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to get a test and to self-isolate.

Indeed, there is some suggestion that the Delta variant has symptoms more similar to a cold.

“A headache, sore throat or a runny nose can be symptoms of the Delta variant of coronavirus, or a cold,” the British Heart Foundation states.

According to the ZOE Covid study, the main symptoms of the Delta variant are a headache, a sore throat, a runny nose and a high temperature.

A person with a cold can start spreading it from a few days before their symptoms begin until the symptoms have finished.

You can often treat a cold without seeing a GP. You should begin to feel better in about one to two weeks.

GPs do not recommend antibiotics for colds because they will not relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery, according to the NHS.

This is because antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections, and colds are caused by viruses.

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