'Super Cold' or Covid? Symptoms of UK ‘super cold’, how it's different to Covid and how to avoid catching it

With winter around the corner, here’s what you need to know about the 'worst cold ever,' impacting the UK – and how it is different from Covid

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 3:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 3:56 pm

Winter is fast approaching and many people throughout the UK have been finding themselves coming down with colds and flus.

But, there's something different about this 'super cold,' that's currently circulating that is leaving people to declare it, the 'worst cold ever.'

So, what are the symptoms of the 'super cold' and what can you do if you suspect you may have it?

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'Super Cold' or Covid? What are the symptoms of UK's 'worst cold ever.'

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What is a super cold?

Colds and flus are nothing new at wintertime, but this year seasonal colds and flus seem to be hitting people harder.

After spending the last 18 months in lockdown due to the pandemic, health experts believe our immunity to cold viruses has waned, as we've had less exposure.

Now, we're out and socialising again, these viruses are circulating and as we haven't built up an immunity against them, the symptoms are hitting us harder than they normally would have.

Professor Neil Mabbott, personal chair in immunopathology at The Roslin Institute & Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, said “It is unlikely we are seeing the circulation of a ‘super cold’, rather our immune systems have had limited exposure to colds over the past 18 months, so our immunity to these diseases will have waned during this period and will be less effective against colds than would be expected normally.”

What are the cold symptoms?

If you have developed a cold, symptoms will usually develop gradually.

According to the NHS, the symptoms for the common cold include:

A blocked or runny nose

A sore throat

Headaches

Muscle aches

Coughs

Sneezing

A raised temperature

Pressure in your ears and face

Loss of taste and smell

How do these cold symptoms differ to Covid?

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

If you have any symptoms of Covid, you need to self-isolate immediately and order a PCR test to take as soon as possible.

If some of your cold symptoms overlap with Covid symptoms, you need to take a PCR test to rule Covid out.

You can find out more about the latest advice for Covid on the NHS website here.

How long do common colds last?

According to the NHS, you can expect a common cold to last on average two weeks after becoming sick, although this time frame may vary with children or people who are vulnerable.

How to avoid catching the cold?

The NHS website states the following things can help prevent you catching the cold:

Washing your hands with warm water and soap

Not sharing towels or household items with someone who has a cold

Not touching your eyes or nose in case you have come into contact with the virus – it can infect the body this way

Staying fit and healthy

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