For many who live in colder climates, coming down with the common cold during the winter months is just part of life.
But according to researchers in the UK, if you suffer from a sore throat, runny nose, and a headache, then there is a good chance you actually have Covid.
The Zoe Covid study team has been tracking the pandemic using feedback from the general public and estimates half of the people with cold-like symptoms actually have Covid, the BBC is reporting.
They describe an “explosion” of Covid cases over the last week, driven by the new Omicron variant.
About 144,000 people a day are catching it and then feeling unwell.
For most, Covid is a mild disease. Some get no symptoms at all.
But it can still cause very serious illness in some people, including those who have not been vaccinated.
If you have cold-like symptoms, take a Covid test, says lead scientist Prof Tim Spector.
“The number of new symptomatic cases has exploded over the last week,” he said.
“For most people, an Omicron positive case will feel much more like the common cold, starting with a sore throat, runny nose, and a headache.
“You only need to ask a friend who has recently tested positive to find this out.
“We need to change public messaging urgently to save lives.”
Meanwhile, in the United States, President Joe Biden’s top health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging Americans to tell their unvaccinated family members to stay away from their family gathering this year.
“I think we’re dealing with a serious enough situation right now that if there’s an unvaccinated person, I would say, ‘I’m very sorry, but not this time, maybe another time when this is all over.’”