A cold branded the ‘super cold’, or ‘worst cold ever’, is expected to sweep across the country this winter – and, for some people, it is already here, says the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
Symptoms of the ‘super cold’ may include a raised temperature, muscle aches and headaches on top of the usually runny nose, sneezing and coughing, and so it is important to know how to medicate.
Thorrun Govind, community pharmacist and chair of the RPS in England, explains why this cold is more virulent this year.
“We are mixing more than we have over the past eighteen months, and there has been a reduction in people wearing masks and social distancing – so it is not a surprise that symptoms of this cold are more exaggerated and have more impact on the individual.”
Thorrun says: “Lockdown rules were designed to stop Covid spreading, but they also stopped other viruses moving between people too.”
With Covid-19 cases also on the rise, it is important to treat the cold like Covid, and to self-isolate and get a PCR test if the symptoms are like those of Covid.
What can a pharmacist prescribe or offer to alleviate the symptoms?
“Ideally people need to stay at home and not spread their germs,” Thorrun explains. “It is important to rest and sleep and ease aches and pains with paracetamol, whilst drinking fluids to stay hydrated.
“Be careful using cough and cold medicines if you are already taking paracetamol or ibuprofen tablets as they may contain the same ingredients, so it can be easy to take more than the recommended dose.
“Your pharmacist may suggest that you relieve a blocked nose with decongestants, such as nasal sprays – remember this is not suitable for everyone, especially those with high blood pressure, so make sure you ask your pharmacist if you are unsure.
“It is also a good idea to visit your pharmacist if the symptoms go on for an unexpectedly long time, and you have tested negative for Covid-19. It may be appropriate to call your local pharmacy instead.”
After a year of doing our best to protect ourselves, our friends, our family, and the NHS, we have become accustomed to stopping diseases spread. This super cold is no different.
“To avoid passing the super cold on you should wash your hands often with warm water and soap, use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze and then bin the used tissues as quickly as possible,” Thorrun adds.