Immunity warning: The worst cold ever causes jelly legs and sponge head – symptoms

Andrew Murrison: Flu may 'come back and bite us' during winter

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The sales figures for Nurofen and Lemsip maker Reckitt have surged in comparison to the same time pre Covid, suggesting that more people are feeling unwell. “For cold and flu, it’s early days in the season,” said Reckitt’s chief executive, Laxman Narasimhan. “But what we are seeing at this point in time is that [sales are] at levels which are higher than where we were in 2019.”

With more than a year spent in a Covid bubble, compounded by less social mixing, viruses that cause cold and flu did not have the opportunity to spread as much.

Now, as human interaction is on par with pre Covid levels, the viruses are running rampant.

One sufferer, Jules Kelly, described her gruelling encounter with the “worst cold ever”.

“It started with a sore throat and terrible sinus pain,” she said. “Now, it feels like my head is made of sponge.

“It’s not just a cold, my body feels really weak and my legs feel like jelly.”

While Jules is fully vaccinated against Covid, her symptoms would make her think she had the deadly infection.

“If it wasn’t for the negative tests I would think this was Covid,” Jules stated.

“After three weeks, it hasn’t shown any signs of letting up,” she sighed.

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Another victim, named Oliver Roll, Tweeted: “Ok, seriously… anyone else been struck down by this non-Covid chest/sinus infection?

“It’s been two weeks and I’m exhausted… This is something else. Never been this continually ill before.”

Is it a cold or the flu?

The NHS clarified that flu symptoms “come on very quickly”, and symptoms can include:

  • A sudden high temperature of 38C or above
  • An aching body
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • A dry cough
  • A sore throat
  • A headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • Feeling sick and being sick.

Treatment involves rest, sleep, keeping warm, and taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature.

While being ill with the flu, it is advisable to take steps to help stop the flu from spreading.

“Flu is very infectious and easily spread to other people. You’re more likely to give it to others in the first five days [of feeling ill],” the NHS added.

The virus that causes flu can “live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours”.

Therefore, in order to reduce the spread of flu, it is important to:

  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap
  • Use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
  • Bin used tissues as quickly as possible.

Right now, during the autumn, is the best time to get the flu vaccine to help prevent health complications.

Meanwhile, the symptoms of a cold tend to develop much more slowly. The symptoms can include:

  • A blocked or runny nose
  • A sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Coughs
  • Sneezing
  • A raised temperature
  • Pressure in your ears and face
  • Loss of taste and smell.

As with the flu, rest and sleep are crucial in order to heal, alongside keeping warm and drinking plenty of water.

For intensely sore throats, gargling salt water (although not suitable for children) is a great way to help soothe the throat.

Cough and cold medicines are available to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets.

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