With Omicron cases rising in India, people are once again fearing yet another Corona wave. Omicron, the latest strain of concern, is said to be more infectious but less ferocious than delta as far as the severity of the disease and mortality is concerned. So far, the patients infected by it including vaccinated ones have exhibited mild symptoms.
Considering people infected by Omicron and Covid-19 are showing cold like symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose, body ache, fever and headache. Also, people should be all the more careful considering common cold cases also see a high during winter season in India. It is likely that people may not get tested for Covid thinking they have a common cold, while they actually have Covid-19, and put the vulnerable groups at risk.
Symptoms of Covid-19
According to Dr Arun Thareja, Head of ENT, Maharaja Agrasen Hospital, Punjabi bagh, dry cough, fever and breathlessness can together be identified as symptoms of coronavirus. A dry cough occurs because of irritation in the throat. Breathlessness occurs because the lung tissues and airways are damaged. As a result of this viral infection, one gets a fever. It always includes symptoms like cough, fever, breathlessness and a loss of smell and taste. 80% of these symptoms are mild. In many cases, people can be asymptomatic. This is the reason why more and more people with flu-like symptoms need to be screened on a wider scale.
Symptoms of common cold
Talking of cold, it usually shows up within one to three days of being exposed to the rhinovirus. Some of cold symptoms include runny nose, congestion, sore throat, cough, sneezing, mild headache and body pain, malaise and low-grade fever.
Ashish Raina (32), says, “My first symptoms were running nose and cough. I got confused between cold and Covid-19 symptoms. After testing negative, I was in relief but it is hard to actually differentiate between cold and Covid-19.”
So, what should one ideally do if they have a runny nose - wait for a few days or get tested for Covid-19 immediately? Here's what an expert has to say.
As per Dr Thareja, at the moment when there is a new variant, we should not be taking it easy and if you have any kind of cold or flu-like symptoms and body ache, you should consult your doctor and get tested, especially if you have a history of travel. If you went to a wedding or the some place where people could be infected, you should be getting yourself tested.
He further says, "If you have a frequent history of allergies and you are sneezing frequently during mornings and throughout the day, but do not have any kind of fever or body ache, then you can take a day to see if the symptoms settle down.”
Samaksh Namdev (21), a resident of Faridabad says, “I have cold for the past 2-3 days and my doctor said that if it leads to fever or cough, I should get myself tested.”
What’s the difference between COVID-19 and the common cold?
Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the symptoms of the common cold. However, while there are several coronaviruses that cause colds. COVID-19 is a distinct illness caused by a new virus known as SARS-CoV-2.
SARS-CoV-2 is more dangerous than the viruses that cause colds, and it can impact people in different ways. Symptoms that may indicate COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and loss of smell or taste.
If a person believes they may have developed COVID-19, they should remain at home and contact a healthcare professional or medical facility for advice.