Dr Philippa Kaye, a GP based in London, explained the prevalence of the super bug hitting the UK. “We are mixing in a way that we haven’t been mixing over the past 18 months,” she said. When the UK’s leisure activities were shut down by a nation-wide lockdown, millions of people were cocooned from viral infections. Now that winter is ahead of us, and indoor social mixing is similar to that of pre-pandemic levels, the viruses are able to run rampant.
People took to social media to detail their experiences of the super bug.
Rebecca London, 24, from Bournemouth said that a usual cold for her would mean “a runny nose, sneezing, a bit of sore throat and feeling a bit rundown”.
But, having caught a cold this autumn, Rebecca said she had experienced “nothing like this”, where she could barely sleep – and numerous lateral flow test confirmed it was not Covid.
One woman was “totally floored” by the illness, while another posted on Facebook: “I’ve had a terrible cold for nearly three weeks, can’t seem to get rid of it.”
You can also help to relieve the pain associated with a sore throat by taking paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Medicated lozenges, containing a local anaesthetic, antiseptic, or anti-inflammatory medicine could be helpful.
For a blocked nose, decongestant sprays or tablets can be useful, but they are not suitable for children under the age of six, and should not be used for longer than five days.
While people might be tempted to try supplements, such as vitamin C, echinacea, or garlic, there’s “little evidence” that these speed up the recovery process.
You will still be infectious until all your symptoms have gone, which can take up to two weeks.
“Colds are spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours,” said the NHS.
To reduce the risk of spreading a cold, wash your hands often with warm water and soap, use tissues to catch germs when you cough or sneeze, and bin used tissues as soon as possible.
Be aware that it is likely you would have spread the infection for a few days before symptoms first emerged.