Having a Common Cold Is Different in the Era of COVID-19

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by Tito Oye |

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In last week’s column, I wrote about ways to reduce the chance of catching a viral infection. I followed my own advice to the letter, yet I still managed to catch something. Just my luck.

The past few days, I have had a sore throat, cough, chest pains, headaches, body aches, fatigue, and the list goes on. I’m not feeling my best.

At the first sign of the symptoms, I took a few COVID-19 tests to be sure I haven’t been putting those around me at risk. All of the tests came back negative, so I’ve deduced that I have the common cold. However, I still don’t want to pass whatever I have to those around me, so I’m taking precautionsI’m aware that I can’t treat a common cold the same way I used to before the pandemic. 

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Before COVID-19, we didn’t feel all that uncomfortable about being around someone with a cold, and I didn’t think about getting other people sick when I had a bug. I might have had the worst cold and yet I still showed up for work and took public transportation.

I have always been a bit of a clean freak, so I’d make sure to wash my hands frequently and carry hand sanitizer with me wherever I went. But when it came to face-to-face interactions, I wasn’t mindful about viral infections spreading to someone else.

Now, coughing in public is met with stares of disapproval by people wondering, “How dare she put us at risk?” I now feel the same when a person coughs or sneezes near me.

As I’ve been dealing with this cold, I find myself suppressing my symptoms when I’m around other people. I don’t want them to think I’m dangerous to be around. I don’t even like to tell people that I feel unwell, because I worry about how they might react.

I’ve since been canceling plans when I can and have been more diligent about keeping my distance from people when I must go out. I’m taking time to rest and doing what I can to ease my symptoms.  I hope this cold will pass in a week or so.

Mostly, I miss the days when someone’s cough was barely noticed.

Have you had similar experiences during the pandemic? Did you change your behaviors to make others around you more comfortable? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.


Note: Sickle Cell Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell disease.


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