GPs urge people to stay home as complaints of ‘worst cold ever’ surge

The number of people suffering from symptoms of “the worst cold ever” that lasts for weeks have increased, with GPs encouraging those who are sick to stay at home.

Experts have said it is “unlikely” that a so-called “super cold” is in circulation, but the surge in people contracting the common cold “highlights the power of the lockdown” and other public health measures that were taken to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Sick Britons have taken to social media in droves to report their symptoms, with many experiencing sandpaper throats, headaches, dripping noses and being unable to get out of bed.

According to The Times, data from the UK Health Security Agency showed that calls to 111 about cold and flu symptoms are increasing and above expected levels, particularly among patients aged 15 to 44.

While many symptoms are similar to Covid-19, most people complaining of the cold have said they tested negative for the virus.

According to the NHS, people should get a PCR test if they experience the main symptoms of coronavirus, which include a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, and a loss or change in sense of smell or taste.

Professor Alan McNally, director of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection, emphasised the importance of staying at home if you are ill to avoid spreading the infection.

“If you have any symptoms of respiratory infection, you should stay at home to prevent transmission and get a test done for Covid-19 to rule in or out,” he said.

“Trying to self-diagnose is a sure-fire way to send Covid-19 case rates soaring again.”

Prof Neil Mabbott, personal chair in immunopathology at The Roslin Institute & Royal School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, told PA: “Not only [were the measures] very effective in reducing transmission of the coronavirus within the community, but at the same time it had the additional benefit of reducing the spread of colds and other common transmissible diseases.

“As these measures are eased and people start mixing more indoors and travelling on public transport, etc, we can expect to see a significant rise in colds and other respiratory diseases.”

He said the most likely explanation for the “super cold” people are experiencing is that “our immune systems have had limited exposure to colds over the past 18 months”.

This has led to immunity to such diseases dropping during this period and becoming “less effective against colds than would be expected normally”.

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