‘Super cold’ 2021: symptoms of the winter virus in the UK - and expert advice on how to treat them

Is the ‘worst cold ever’ going around the UK at the moment?

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A cold named by some as a ‘super cold’ or ‘worst cold ever’ has been sweeping the UK in recent months, with symptoms lasting for weeks for many people.

But what are the symptoms of this ‘super cold’ and how can they be treated?

Here’s what you need to know.

What are the symptoms of the ‘super cold’?

Symptoms of the ‘super cold’ may include:

  • a raised temperature 
  • muscle aches
  • headaches 

These being on top of the usual cold symptoms of:

  • a blocked or runny nose
  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • pressure in your ears and face
  • loss of taste and smell

Thorrun Govind, community pharmacist and Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England, explains why this cold is more virulent this year.

She said: “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.

“Lockdown rules were designed to stop Covid spreading, but they also stopped other viruses moving between people too.”

How can I treat the symptoms?

Ms Govind also offers his expert advice on how to alleviate symptoms of the ‘super cold’.

She said it is important to:

  • rest and sleep
  • ease aches and pains with paracetamol
  • drink fluids to stay hydrated

However, you should be careful when using cough and cold medicines if you are already taking paracetamol or ibuprofen tablets as they may contain the same ingredients.

Your pharmacist may also suggest that you relieve a blocked nose with decongestants, such as nasal sprays, but this is not suitable for everyone, especially those with high blood pressure, so make sure you ask your pharmacist if you are unsure.

Ms Govind also said it is a good idea to call or visit your pharmacist “if the symptoms go on for an unexpectedly long time, and you have tested negative for Covid-19”.

The pharmacist also noted it’s important to stop the spread of the super cold where possible.

She said: “Ideally people need to stay at home and not spread their germs.”

“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,” Ms Govind added.

It is also important to treat the cold like Covid and to self-isolate and get a PCR test if the symptoms you are experiencing are the same as coronavirus symptoms, Ms Govind advised.