Are today's common cold symptoms actually worse than before the pandemic?

Flu sick
Posted at 3:28 PM, Feb 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-13 17:54:25-05

(WXYZ) — There are quite a few people who haven’t been sick since pre-pandemic times. So it’s more likely that they forgot how terrible they can feel when infected with the common cold. Because so far, there’s been no evidence that cold viruses have changed and are making people sicker than expected.

Now, what might be playing a role here is lack of exposure to viruses, so there’s less immunity. Having said that, there are over 200 different viruses that are known to cause those nasty cold symptoms like runny nose, sore throat, post-nasal drip, congestion, sneezing, low-grade fever, and coughing. So there are just too many viruses for our bodies to create immunity to all of them. That’s why adults can have two or three colds in a normal year. And kids can have up to 8 colds per year.

A person is more likely to catch a cold this season. That’s mostly because many people are living life as it was before the pandemic. And with more people gathering and socializing, it gives the contagious common cold viruses more ground to spread. Especially as we have lower immunity in the overall public than in previous years.

Now, what are the best ways to fight the common cold?

- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

- Avoid touching your face, especially your nose, mouth, and eyes

- Clean frequently used surfaces at work and in the home

- Don’t share drinking glasses or utensils

Also, a strong immune system is important as it’ll help you recover more quickly. So be sure to eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, don’t smoke, and stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids like water.

If you do get sick, be sure to stay home. If you sneeze or cough, please use a tissue if possible, or the crook of your elbow will work in a pinch. This is important because airborne droplets are the most common mode of spreading this virus.