'Worst cold ever' - what are the symptoms and how do I know it's not Covid?

People across Lancashire and the rest of the UK have reported being struck down with the 'worst cold ever' as we head towards winter.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 11:30 am
Updated Friday, 15th October 2021, 11:34 am

Here's everything you need to know about the symptoms and how you can tell the difference between the common cold and Covid.

What is the 'worst cold ever' that people are catching?

Both a cold and flu symptoms can include a sore throat, headaches, a raised temperature, aching body, a cough, sneezing, and a blocked or runny nose.

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Experts have said people’s immunity to viruses will have reduced during the last 18 months of lockdown restrictions (Photo: Shutterstock)

Since schools returned in August and people have been mixing socially in indoor spaces under reduced Covid restrictions, common colds have re-emerged with a vengeance as temperatures drop.

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While common colds and flu-like symptoms are to be expected at this time of year, the presence of coronavirus in our lives has meant that we have been less exposed to bugs and lurgies over the past year as we usually would.

This had led to lots of patients across the UK experiencing tougher, more aggressive forms of colds and flu-like viruses than usual - with sore throats, headaches, coughing, runny noses and aches and pains commonly reported among those experiencing the ‘worst cold ever’ this autumn.

Coronavirus under a microscope

Health experts have said that people’s immunity to viruses is likely to have waned during the last 18 months of lockdown restrictions and social distancing, as we have been less exposed to these bugs than normal.

As such, this has led to a lot of people experiencing more severe cold and flu-like symptoms than normal.

How do cold symptoms differ from Covid?

When common colds and flus present some overlap with Covid symptoms, it’s can be easy to assume that you simply have a cold or alternatively might have contracted Covid-19.

The symptoms for coronavirus continue to be: a high temperature or fever, sudden loss or change in sense of taste or smell and a new, continuous cough.

If you have any of the above or multiple Covid symptoms, you should self-isolate and order a PCR test to take at home as soon as possible.

But ‘super cold’ symptoms reportedly include extremely sore throats, a hacking cough and migraines.

Common colds and the flu usually present a range of different symptoms and more of them than coronavirus typically will.

How long does a 'super cold' last?

Colds typically disappear from one to two weeks after becoming infected, according to the NHS - with children sometimes seeing symptoms last for longer.

What should I do if I catch it?

NHS guidance states that you should contact your GP if cold symptoms last for more than three weeks following at-home treatment with rest, hydration and cold and flu medicines.