WE have been seeing a pattern emerging with our newly positive Covid cases where the symptoms being reported are appearing to be different to those traditionally associated with Covid which are currently used as the testing criteria.

From the outset of the pandemic, most of us have become comfortable in reeling off the signs for possible Covid: a new persistent cough, a fever or a loss or change in sense of smell and taste.

We have seen other countries such as Australia widen their criteria to be inclusive of other acute respiratory symptoms too, such as sore throat, shortness of breath and a runny nose; this is not the case in the UK thus far.

Everyone at some stage in their life has had the common cold.

You feel a bit rubbish for a few days with a runny and congested nose, a sore throat, maybe a fever and a cough too. You take a couple of paracetamols, rest up if you’re feeling wiped out or not if you’re not too bothered by it.

Essentially life doesn’t stop when you have a cold; we can function with it.

However, right now we are hearing of a rising number of positive Covid cases again and instead of the classic symptoms which took people to their beds, many are passing the symptoms off as hay fever or a cold and are just getting on with life.

Ordinarily this would be fine but what if these are symptoms of Covid and we are playing into the trap that the virus is setting in order to spread again?

The Delta variant, previously known as the Indian variant, is now the dominant one in the UK, accounting for 90% of Covid cases.

Recently the ZOE Covid Symptom Study revealed that headaches are now the most common symptom reported followed by a sore throat, runny nose and fever.

It found that a cough is rare and loss of taste and smell is even rarer. Data is also showing us We have to keep on top of the virus for all of us that the Delta variant is far more transmissible than we originally thought. This is worrying!

We are not just in a pandemic, we are also in the midst of hay fever season and when the weather changes, other viral infections such as the cold become more prevalent.

What’s hay fever, what’s a cold and where does Covid sit in all this?

In our practice we are seeing a spike in people presenting with symptoms of the common cold and hay fever.

Many are subsequently testing positive for Covid.

I therefore recommend you to stay at home if you feel generally unwell or feel you might be coming down with a cold and consider getting a PCR Covid test.

It’s also important we continue to do lateral flow tests if you have no symptoms so we can pick up cases as early as possible.

I am just as hopeful as everybody else to have restrictions eased completely but I’m also seeing that, on the ground, things are bubbling away again.

We are seeing cases amongst the younger populations who are largely unvaccinated and tend to be the groups mingling.

I understand how important it is for our mental wellbeing to connect with others but in order to keep this freedom of movement sanctioned, awareness is key.

I would therefore urge those of you not vaccinated to attend when you receive your appointments for both doses of the vaccine and have your guard high about the symptoms above.

We have to act now and remain extra vigilant until we have this variant under control.

Don’t shoot the messenger!