‘Worst cold ever’ spreads across UK – are your symptoms caused by a cold or flu?

Dr Amir Khan says flu is ‘going to be a real worry’ this winter

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Most people come down with a cold or flu at some point in the winter months, and you might be feeling run down with a blocked or runny nose. But, some people across the country are now reporting that they’ve had one of the worst colds of their life.

Our immune systems aren’t quite what they used to be, from before the coronavirus pandemic.

Spending more time indoors over the past 18 months meant we weren’t exposed to as many viruses or bacteria as normal.

Now, as the UK unlocks and life returns to normal, some people have already started developing symptoms of a winter cold.

They’ve even said it could be the “worst cold ever”, with swollen faces and nasty coughs.

Morgan Partridge wrote on Twitter: “Had my first cold since covid and it’s honestly the worst cold ever. I’ve never felt soo ill before. My face is even swollen.”

Twitter user Oudemia said: “I’ve come down with a **nasty** sodding lurgy.

“Properly deep, nasty coughs. My bf is just coming out the other side of it, but he’s also floored by it. Worst cold he’s ever had.”

Saige/del added: “My head hurts so much that my eye is watering this is the worst cold i’ve ever had.”

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Cold or flu?

Both colds and the flu are caused by a virus that infects the respiratory tract.

They share a number of key symptoms, so it can be difficult to know the difference.

However, there are some noticeable differences; mainly that flu symptoms are more severe than a cold.

While you should get over a cold within a few days, the flu could last for weeks.

Lemsip wrote on its website: “Colds and flu share many of the same symptoms.

“But ask someone who’s had flu and they’ll tell you there’s a difference!

“Flu symptoms feel more severe. You’ll likely have the same tiredness, aches and pains, but with flu it feels worse and comes with a fever.

“Also, flu tends to come on much faster than a cold. That’s why you may hear people say they’ve been ‘struck down by flu'”.

Cold symptoms usually include a runny nose, sneezing, a scratchy sore throat, aches and pains, headaches, and even a blocked nose.

The symptoms are usually more severe if you’ve got the flu, but you could also develop a high fever and feel unusually sweaty or shivery.

Most people don’t need to see a doctor if they’ve got the flu – just make sure to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.

But, you should consider speaking to a GP if you’re over 65, you’re pregnant, or have an underlying medical condition.

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