newshas covid made our colds worse the pandemic left us less prepared

Has COVID made our colds worse? The pandemic left us less prepared

common cold
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We all experience the common cold every now and again, but have the symptoms felt worse than, say, before the COVID-19 pandemic? If the answer for you is “yes,” don’t worry, because you are not alone.

After all that time of isolation and looking to prevent ourselves from contracting COVID-19, some people feel more than ever before that their sinuses issues, light cough and head heaviness are a degree stronger than before.

But it isn’t that any cold virus is stronger than it was, it is that human habits changed drastically during the pandemic, which has left our bodies less prepared for the common cold.

Part of it is mental, with medical experts telling ABC News that some people may not even recall the common cold symptoms after potentially going a few years without them. Be it sneezing, coughing, aching, runny nose or more, that collection of symptoms may just have been a tad forgotten for many, especially those who were in lockdown.

“All of us have forgotten about what common colds used to be like, and we’re getting them now again,” Dr.William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist from Vanderbilt University, told ABC News.

Another reason why it may feel worse is due to our body’s lower immunity to them. By being in isolation, wearing masks and being more cautious, there has just been less exposure to the viruses which can directly impact immunity.

“Colds are more frequent now than during the height of the pandemic as the masking/distancing works to prevent not only COVID but also flu and common colds,” Dr. William Petri, an infectious diseases expert at UVA Health, told Augusta Free Press.

It’s even more prevalent in children who haven’t had the years of building immunity as those who are older with an estimated 48 percent having already been sick during the school year by just the end of October.

“Lack of exposure to viruses over time might make a cold seem much worse than before, because you haven’t been exposed a little bit along the way,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, professor of medicine and infectious diseases specialist at the University of California-San Francsico told ABC News.”

The CDC advises you to stay home while sick and keep children out of school or daycare when they aren’t feeling well. Limiting hugging, kissing and shaking hands also helps, as well as moving away from people before coughing or sneezing. Frequent handwashing, especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose is highly recommended, as well as disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

As for feeling better, there is no cure, you just have to wait it out and try to limit symptom severity.

“There is no cure for a cold,” the CDC website says. ”To feel better, you should get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Over-the-counter medicines may help ease symptoms but will not make your cold go away any faster. Always read the label and use medications as directed. Talk to your doctor before giving your child nonprescription cold medicines, since some medicines contain ingredients that are not recommended for children.”

Roger Gonzalez

Roger Gonzalez

Roger Gonzalez is freelancer for Augusta Free Press. A native of Connecticut that grew up in Charlottesville, he is a graduate of Virginia Tech. He currently is a sportswriter with CBS Sports and has written for The Daily Progress, The Roanoke Times and other newspapers before getting into the digital sports journalism world.