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Is it a cold or is it coronavirus?

We are seeing an increase in the seasonal sniffles, but with a pandemic still raging and the number of cases of covid-19 increasing every day, what should we be looking out for this winter?

By Elizabeth Lucy

As we walk into winter, we are seeing an increase in the seasonal sniffles, but with a pandemic still raging and the number of cases of covid-19 increasing every day, what should we be looking out for?

So, the first thing is to always pay attention to your symptoms and don’t take any chances with your health. If you are really concerned about something, make sure you give your GP a call; over the phone consultations are quite common now and can help to guide you through any major concerns.

The second thing to remember is that there are actually seven types of coronavirus that affect humans and four of them are those that cause a common cold, so how do you know if you have the sars-cov-2 virus that causes covid-19?

In the first instance, look out for the “classic” symptoms; a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature), a new continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual) or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal. 

Additionally, the UK symptom study ran by “Zoe” which collects national data from over 4 million people, also suggest that early symptoms include headache and fatigue. They also provide helpful articles about what to look out for specifically in children and share real time updates on suspected numbers of new cases based on symptoms. It is also worth noting that covid-19 can also be asymptomatic, meaning you have no symptoms and might not even know you have it, which is one of the main reasons the social distance and mask wearing are so important. 

With the colder months rolling in, flu will also be on the rise and nationally it is recommended for those eligible (over 65, pregnant or compromised immune system) book in for a flu jab. This will help to keep you healthy over the winter and hopefully keep those who are at risk of being hospitalised from flu, safe at home.

A few final top tips for prevention; practice good hygiene, adhere to covid-safe guidelines, avoid crowded places where possible, stay as healthy as you can with good sleep, healthy meals and a little exercise. 

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