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Winter 2022 – Is It the Common Cold, Influenza, or COVID-19?

By Kathleen Massaro January 14, 2022

As we start off the year 2022, there is still a lot of heightened awareness around illness and bacteria. We are in the peak of winter, and with cold weather comes a lot of sicknesses. We are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this doesn’t mean that other diseases and viruses just disappear. It is still normal to catch a common cold or the flu. Since many of the symptoms are similar, it is difficult to differentiate between the viruses you could catch especially during the wintertime.  

Common Cold 
A common cold is what all of us have experienced time and time again. The common cold normally begins with a runny nose and a sore throat. You tend to feel off and more tired than usual. Most people get colds in the winter, but they can occur within any month out of the year.  Most individuals feel back to normal health between 7-10 days according to the CDC. Children tend to get colds more often throughout the year. Adults typically get the common cold fewer times a year than children do. The common cold is the mildest of the sicknesses that are mentioned within this blog post.  

Common Cold Symptoms: 
• sore throat 
• runny nose 
• coughing 
• sneezing 
• headaches 
• body aches 

Flu 
In a normal world, the winter months consist of the flu season. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the throat, nose, and sometimes the lungs. There are different strains of the flu and that is why it is better to be safe than sorry to get yourself the flu shot. Some experts are predicting that we may be faced with a “twindemic,” facing an increase in both COVID-19 and flu cases within these winter months. With the looser restrictions on mask mandates comes the potential for more exposure to bacteria causing different illnesses. Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness. The flu is different from the common cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. It is also important to mention that not everyone with the flu will experience a fever. 

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: 
• fever or feeling feverish/chills 
• cough 
• sore throat 
• runny or stuffy nose 
• muscle or body aches 
• headaches 
• fatigue (tiredness) 
• vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. 

The time from when someone is exposed and infected with the flu to when symptoms begin is around 2 days. There can be more serious complications with the flu depending on age, health status, and other factors. These complications consist of pneumonia, sinus infections, and more.   

COVID-19 
COVID-19 is the beast of the bunch. This disease has many different variants that are highly contagious. It is the disease that has caused the pandemic we have been living through for over 2 years now. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Most people infected with the virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.” Everybody that contracts COVID-19 experiences symptoms differently and could have a different variant of the virus.  

Right now, the variants of concern (VOC) are the Delta and Omicron variants. The CDC states, “The Delta and Omicron variants cause more infection and spread faster than the original SARS-CoV-2 strain of the virus that causes COVID-19. Vaccines remain the best way to reduce your risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.” 

There is a wide range of how this disease can affect you. Some people are asymptomatic while others feel absolutely terrible. If you have underlying health conditions this disease can lead to more severe complications and symptoms.  

COVID-19 Symptoms 
• Fever or chills
• Cough 
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
• Fatigue 
• Muscle or body aches 
• Headache 
• New loss of taste or smell 
• Sore throat 
• Congestion or runny nose 
• Nausea or vomiting 
• Diarrhea 

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 It is important to get vaccinated and also boosted. It is also important to always wear a mask in public places, wash your hands, social distance, and get tested if you feel like you have symptoms or know you have been exposed.  

It is important to note that with all of these illnesses can be more high risk or lead to serious complications depending on age and health status. However, it is important to get vaccinated and also take precautions to prevent the spread of all types of germs. The winter is a tough time as it is. Living through a pandemic is not ideal in any sense, however we should do what we can to stop the spread and protect others.  

iCleanse is here to help in the best way we know how, and that is with UV-C disinfection. Visit iCleanse.com to incorporate another preventative method into your life and to help spread bacteria.  

Resources 
https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/view/surging-or-shackled-flu-season-could-go-either-way?utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=09282021_ICT_eNL_Tomi_US&eKey=ZW1pbHkuemFnbml0QHN1cmZhY2lkZS5jb20=
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm
https://www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/ 
https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/about-variants.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fvariants%2Fvariant.html