Doctor explains why this year's cold and flu feels worse than years gone by
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It feels as if almost everyone is catching this nasty winter bug as Covid-19 and flu cases surge across the UK.
During the last week of December, NHS data showed that 3,764 patients a day were in hospital with flu, compared to only 520 the month before.
Many social media users have been tweeting their concerns as to why they've been 'unwell' for weeks, and people think they've got the same symptoms as Covid - but aren't testing positive for it.
But thankfully, Dr Babak Ashrafi - a GP for online doctor service ZAVA - is here to help and has explained to LADbible just what's going on.
"What many might think is just one winter cold that is causing havoc among a large proportion of the population is actually a range of different viruses and other respiratory infections which are hitting us at about the same time," the doctor said.
Some people are suffering from Covid, others from flu, common cold virus or have a respiratory syncytial virus.
Dr Ashrafi also says that Covid restrictions and social distancing 'undoubtedly had an effect on our immune systems' and our bodies may have 'forgotten how's best to fight them off'.
"So catching a cold or flu this winter may leave you feeling a little worse than you would have before 2020, but bear in mind that without testing, it’s hard to know what you’re infected with," he said.
With the addition of the new Omicron XBB variants, Dr Ashrafi reveals how 'our vaccines might not be as good at preventing getting infected as they were for other variants'
"Our lateral flow tests might also not be as accurate at picking up a Covid infection as they used to be for other variants. You may need to do serial testing to identify it," he explained.
The doctor also reminded us: "It's important not to forget that these viruses replicate and survive longer in colder environments and are passed around more easily when we socialise more indoors.
"Added to that, our nasal immune defences are reduced in cold air, making it easier for us to be infected with this type of airborne virus."
Dr Ashrafi says the best way to not get ill this winter is to follow the same rules we used for Covid.
"Specifically to wash your hands regularly, keep rooms well ventilated, throwing used tissues away, and if you’re unwell, wear a mask and try to stay at home until you’re better," he said.
Featured Image Credit: ZAVA/Prostock-studio / Alamy
Topics: UK News, Coronavirus, Health