A doctor has revealed why so many Brits have been struck down by cold and flu recently - and, crucially, what we can do to help ourselves if we do start feeling poorly.
Seasonal sniffles are usually more commonly associated with the colder winter months, when viruses tend to thrive.
According to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, this is down to a number of reasons, such as people being indoors more often - allowing viruses to pass more easily from one person to another - and the cold, dry air weakening resistance to infections.
But according to Dr Ollie Hart, a GP at Sloan Medical Centre in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, with the arrival of a pleasant, mild spring in the UK, health professionals have seen more people coming in with flu or cold symptoms.
He told YorkshireLive: "In our practice, I think we have seen an increase in people coming in with flu or cold-like symptoms.
"It's felt like more than usual for this time of year and there seems to be quite a high occurrence.
"But my gut feeling is that this is coming from people mixing with no barriers again. People are mixing and spreading bugs they haven't for a while.
"We've been protected from that over the past few years and our immune systems aren't quite used to it.
"We're seeing the usual range of symptoms - sore throats, runny noses, coughs, diarrhoea, it's just almost concentrated at the moment now everyone is mixing with no restrictions."
Of course, you're probably best ruling out Covid, as cases are continuing to increase. Even if you've tested negative using a lateral flow, Hart advised anyone with Covid symptoms to go and get themselves a PCR test to be sure.
As for what you can do if you're feeling rotten, Hart said people can always go and speak to their pharmacists for help before heading to the doctors, and that they should be sure to take some time off work to recover if needed.
He continued: "People shouldn't panic. We have almost forgotten what it's like to have an ordinary cough or cold that's not Covid.
"If you are clinically vulnerable or have a chronic health condition you should take a bit more care but for most people, we need to remember common sense about managing ordinary day-to-day illnesses. This is a normal part of life.
"There isn't a plague running around. Having simple bugs is an ordinary fact of life."
The NHS advises treating a common cold with rest and sleep, staying warm, drinking plenty of water and gargling salt water to soothe a sore throat - although the latter isn't suitable for children.
With flu, meanwhile, you can also take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains, along with the same rest and sleep, staying warm and making sure you're well hydrated.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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