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The family doctor explains why people are getting sick at the moment and what symptoms they need to look out for

There has been a spate of anecdotal reports of people being hit with flu or coronavirus-like symptoms but testing negative for the virus

A Sheffield GP said the practice had seen an increase in people coming in with flu- or cold-like symptoms
A Sheffield GP said the practice had seen an increase in people coming in with flu- or cold-like symptoms

Winter may finally be over, but it seems like many of us are getting sick right now – and not necessarily from Covid.

There has been a spate of anecdotal reports of people being hit with flu or coronavirus-like symptoms but testing negative for the virus.

To get to the bottom of this Yorkshire Live spoke to a local GP and looked at the available data.

The “Super Cold”

The term ‘super cold’ was first used in the UK late last year to describe people with Covid-like symptoms who continue to test negative for Covid.

It is currently being used widely in Australia as health experts there warn of more respiratory illnesses as the country opens up.

So what is the “super cold” and why is the term so commonly used?

dr Ollie Hart, a GP at Sloan Medical Center in Sheffield, said the practice has seen an increase in people with flu- or cold-like symptoms.







dr Hart said that contagion from simple mistakes is a “common fact of life.”
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(Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF)

“It feels more than usual for this time of year and there seems to be a pretty high frequency,” he continued.

“But my gut feeling is that this is coming from people mixing again with no barriers. People mix and spread bugs they haven’t had in a while. We’ve been protected from it for the past several years, and our immune systems aren’t entirely used to it.

“We’re seeing the usual spectrum of symptoms – sore throat, runny nose, cough, diarrhea, it’s just almost concentrated at the moment, now they all mix without restrictions.”

If you have any of these symptoms, Dr. Ollie people to always be the first port of call to their pharmacist before going to the doctors. He added that people should make sure they take time off to take care of themselves and recover when needed.

But crucially, he said: “People shouldn’t panic. We’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to have an ordinary non-Covid cough or cold.

“There is no plague going around. Having simple bugs is a common fact of life.”

The flu

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) publishes a weekly surveillance report on influenza and Covid outbreaks in the UK.

Flu is usually associated with the colder months, but doctors have said we’re seeing a slightly later than normal flu season this year.

According to the latest report on March 24, the UKHSA said it had been alerted that “influenza activity is low but increasing”. Last week’s report said there had been a slight increase in hospital and intensive care admissions for flu recently.

From March 17 to March 24, influenza positivity increased from 1.6% to 2.5%.

Of 2,574 people who took part in the UKHSA flu survey in the week leading up to 24 March, 7.9% of people reported having a fever or cough and 2.4% reported a flu-like illness. This is a slight increase from the previous week when the numbers were 5.5% and 1.8% respectively.

Related to influenza is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which came back into force this January. This causes mild cold symptoms but can have a bigger impact on small babies. The UKHSA advised anyone who noticed reduced feeding or shortness of breath in young children to call their GP or 111.

The norovirus

There’s another virus that’s going around – norovirus, a stomach virus that can cause vomiting and diarrhea. The NHS lists its main symptoms as nausea or nausea and diarrhea, but people should also watch out for aching limbs, high temperatures and headaches.

It’s increasing across the country, according to the latest UKHSA report on norovirus. From week nine to week 10 of 2022, reports of virus outbreaks doubled.

The outbreaks began in educational institutions and then worsened in nursing homes towards the end of February – 40 outbreaks were observed in the week beginning February 14 and they have continued to increase into March.

Professor Saheer Gharbia, Gastrointestinal Pathogens and Food Safety Directorate, UKHSA, said: “Norovirus, commonly known as winter vomiting, has been at lower than normal levels throughout the pandemic, but as people have started to mix more, the number of Outbreaks increased again began to rise.

“Symptoms include sudden onset nausea, projectile vomiting and diarrhea, but can also include high fever, abdominal pain and aching limbs. Stay home if you have norovirus symptoms and do not return to work or send children to school or daycare until age 48 hours after symptoms resolve.”

Coronavirus

Unfortunately, Covid is still very strong – and cases are currently increasing as well. Even if you tested negative with a lateral flow, Doctor Ollie advised anyone with Covid symptoms to do a PCR just to be safe.

According to the latest government data, the number of positive Covid tests reported in the seven days to March 24 has increased by 14.5% compared to the previous seven days. 612,084 people tested positive in the last week.

The Omicron variant has two subvariants – BA.1 and BA.2, which have been discovered in recent weeks. According to the WHO, studies have shown that the BA.2 variant appears to be “inherently more transmissible” than BA.1, and cases of this are increasing compared to other variants of Omicron.

The UKHSA said in its latest report: “Increases may be due to a number of factors including the gradual increase in social contact over the past few weeks (as seen in the daily contact rates self-reported by FluSurvey), the end of regulatory requirements for self-isolation at week 9 and increased portability of the BA.2 variant.”

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/gp-explains-people-getting-ill-26579587 The family doctor explains why people are getting sick at the moment and what symptoms they need to look out for

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