Doctors seeing unusual summer surge in common cold

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Is it COVID-19 or a common cold? It’s a question a lot of families might be dealing with amid an unusual summer surge in cold cases.

While it’s not the usual time of the year for lots of sneezing, sniffling and coughing, parents are bringing their kids to the doctor be treated for respiratory infections like the common cold.

"At the peak of the pandemic when everyone was staying home and everyone was in a mask. Gosh, it sure was nice not to catch colds and not to see a significant flu season. And that’s because masks work," said Dr. Christina Johns with PM Pediatrics. "Now we’re starting to see more gatherings, less masking, and that means more of the virus is starting to circulate."

While people wondered if maybe our immune systems have weakened during the pandemic, Dr. Johns believes we have good immune memory and it’s simply a matter of exposure now.

There is another issue that Dr. David Banach from UConn Health points out.

"I think it can be very difficult to distinguish between these common cold respiratory viruses and COVID," he explained.
Right now children under age 12 remain a vulnerable group with no COVID vaccine authorized for them and the Delta variant spreading quickly.

Even among those vaccinated, the symptoms of COVID tend to be more mild, possibly mimicking a cold.

He recommends people get tested if there’s a concern.