NHS advises how to treat a common cold
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Many areas of England are bustling once again with retail and hospitality back open for business. Easing the coronavirus restrictions has provided much needed relief after months of being locked down but it has caused a surge in rhinoviruses. The spike is being attributed to schools reopening in March.
Speaking to The Times, Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, explained: “Rhinoviruses, which are the commonest cause of the common cold, have rocketed in the last few weeks.
“Schools and playgroups are where it’s spreading.”
As The Times reported, data from Public Health England shows that the share of tests coming back positive for rhinovirus has risen significantly since January.
For children aged from five to 14, nearly 30 per cent of tests were positive at the beginning of April compared with none in late January and early February.
The figures for adults have also risen.
The surge in common-cold-causing rhinoviruses may actually have a salutary effect on the spread of COVID-19.
Rhinoviruses may interfere with the replication of other respiratory viruses that tend to be more serious, such as COVID-19.
What’s more, they may offer the host temporary protection from them.
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According to a recent study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, rhinoviruses trigger an interferon response that blocks SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19) replication.
Interferons are virus-killing molecules produced by our immune system in response to invading pathogens.
It comes as new data suggests one in 40,000 symptomatic cases of coronavirus are now being recorded in the UK.
“We have one of the lowest rates in Europe,” said Professor Tim Spector, who runs the ZOE COVID symptom app which has been downloaded by some 4.5 million Britons.
What are the symptoms of the common cold?
Cold symptoms come on gradually and can include:
- A blocked or runny nose
- A sore throat
- Muscle aches
- A raised temperature
- Pressure in your ears and face
- Loss of taste and smell.
According to the NHS, the symptoms are the same in adults and children.
Although, as the health body explains, sometimes symptoms last longer in children.
If you have a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, it could be COVID-19.
Data suggests most people with symptoms have at least one of these symptoms.
If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, you’re advised to get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible.
You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
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