The world is opening up! Horray. After the onslaught of Covid-19, Delta, Omicron we are finally seeing a reprieve and infections are plummeting. Is Covid still hovering? Yes, and the new variant, BA.2 is affecting Europe and we are seeing it as the new infection in the US also. But overall, Covid is NOT surging and we can thank vaccinated people for the low caseload. So why are people getting upper respiratory infections? Sore throat, body aches, headache followed by a week of coughing. It's the common cold!
As we stop wearing masks and start shaking hands and socializing, the Rhinovirus (also a Corona virus for you nerds out there) is making a grand appearance again. There are about 200 different pathogens that cause a cold so one's chance of encountering it is high. Unlike the Covid virus, these cold viruses are resistant to sanitizers and disinfectants and may last longer on fingertips and surfaces. In that way they are remarkably efficient at surviving and staying in the community longer.
If you have symptoms, do a home test. If it's negative (and you have no other Covid exposure) you can presume you have a cold virus. To be sure you can do a 2nd test 2 days later. This is exactly what I did when I felt miserable with headache, congestion, fatigue, cough and body aching. I stayed in bed, went through 3 boxes of tissue, drank tea and water and tested negative for Covid X2. Yup, I succumbed to the common cold.
How can you protect yourself and stay well? Continue to wear the mask in crowded places. I read that airlines might relax the mask mandate. I think that is a terrible idea. And quit hugging strangers and shaking hands. It's awkward I know. People come at you with arms outstretched and everyone is embarrassed when you back up. But tapping elbows and keeping distance is a good habit right now while the world is in transition. Those European cheek kisses won't work now if you want to stay disease free.
It's not too late to get that 2nd and 3rd vaccine. Help a friend or relative get it. Free and easy at most pharmacies.