COVID is resembling a cold or flu more and more.

COVID is resembling a cold or flu more and more.

When COVID-19 Feels Like a Common Cold


If you thought experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 was already confusing, this season has thrown us another curveball. According to doctors, mild COVID-19 infections now resemble common symptoms of allergies and the common cold. That’s not all – other well-known COVID-19 symptoms such as deep cough, loss of taste or smell, headache, and fever have become less common or pronounced. While this may sound like good news, experts stress that we should not let our guard down.

Dr. Teresa Lovins, an independent family physician, shared that many of her patients had mistaken their COVID-19 symptoms for allergies. They experienced a runny nose, watery eyes, and a sore throat – common signs of upper respiratory symptoms. Fatigue has also been a persistent issue among COVID patients, leaving them feeling tired and low on energy for up to 72 hours.

However, the shift in mild COVID-19 symptoms was expected. As more people have become either infected or vaccinated, our bodies have built a certain level of immunity, enabling us to fight off the virus more effectively. This altered immune response may have changed the way COVID-19 presents itself clinically.

Additionally, the mutation trends in COVID-19, favoring the Omicron strain and its descendants, have contributed to the milder presentations experienced by individuals. While this may be encouraging, it is vital to remember that COVID-19 is still a serious illness. Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases, warns against taking the virus lightly. Severe COVID-19 cases have led to a significant increase in hospitalizations across the country, particularly among older individuals, those with chronic conditions, and the immunocompromised.

Regarding boosters, the recent recommendation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to offer booster shots to everyone, not just the high-risk population, emphasizes the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Even young, healthy individuals have been susceptible to severe cases that require hospitalization. The newest COVID booster targets the members of the Omicron XBB variant family, which includes the most common COVID variant, EG.5. The vaccine currently available provides coverage against the prevalent strains.

As we navigate the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, it is essential to prioritize preventive measures and vaccinations. Apart from the COVID vaccine, Dr. Lovins encourages individuals to get vaccinated against the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). It is likely that the COVID vaccine will become an annual fall vaccination, similar to the flu shot.

Ultimately, as more information emerges, we need to stay vigilant and informed about the evolving nature of COVID-19. By taking appropriate precautions and following public health guidance, we can protect ourselves and those around us, regardless of the changing symptoms this virus presents. Remember, COVID-19 may feel like a common cold at times, but it is far from trivial – this virus still demands our respect.