Have you had the 'worst cold ever' that is going round Suffolk?
- Credit: Pixabay/SweetLousie
People across Suffolk have complained of a particularly bad cold going around, as one GP explained social-distancing may have lowered people's immunity.
Dr Mark Shenton, GP and clinical chair of the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Public Health England keeps track of viruses and sends reports around detailing cold and flu-like illnesses.
"There are many different viruses that can have different effects.
"Viral symptoms can be worse if you don't have recent immunity and we know flu and RSV didn't circulate through the population like normal last year — probably because of social distancing — so immunity levels are probably lower.
"Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) commonly circulates in autumn and winter, gives a particularly nasty cough and can even lead to hospitalization in children.
"RSV remains high in the east of England, as does Rhinovirus [the main common cold virus].
"If we didn't have so many last year, they're likely to be worse this year."
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One person to have been struck down by the cold is this newspaper's digital features writer, Danielle Lett.
She said: "I've been suffering with what I think is the worst cold ever for a few days now, and it's really knocked me off my feet.
“I started to feel really weak and tired on Thursday evening, so I took some paracetamol and went to bed early, hoping it would pass by the morning.
“However, I had a terrible night’s sleep and kept shivering then feeling really hot.
"I took Friday off work and spent all weekend in bed – I’ve never known a cold like it – by Wednesday I was slowly starting feel a bit better than I was last week."
Facebook users also reported being ill with an unusually bad cold.
One said: "I'm currently full of cold feeling awful, It's my first one in two years.
Other people report their masks for keeping them safe from the cold.
"I haven’t had the cold as I still have my mask on and sanitise and clean my hands," one social media user said.
"I can see a lot of people not doing this hence why they get sick.
"I haven’t been sick since end of 2019. Some people mock others for keeping the mask on, they do what they want, but they shouldn’t complain if they get sick."
Dr Shenton emphasised that people should get a PCR test as soon as possible if they show cold symptoms.
"Doing a lateral flow test when you have symptoms is insufficient — a PCR test is needed," he said.
"The delta variant of Covid's symptoms are much more like a cold, with a runny nose much more likely than from earlier variants of coronavirus."
He also emphasised eligible patients should get their flu jabs, but said they were not "vital" for those not offered them by the NHS.
He said: "I wouldn't necessarily suggest wearing a mask with a cold, but be sure [PCR Test] you don't have Covid.
"People with colds don't need to self isolate, it's more socially acceptable now to not go to work, but it's a bit different from Covid.
"The old 'Catch it, bin it, kill it' campaign is still very valid."