Why is 'worst cold ever going around' trending?

“WORST cold ever” has been trending on various social media platforms for weeks.

Here we look at why so many people have been talking about getting sick…

Why is 'worst cold ever' trending? 

Thanks to several lockdowns and social distancing, colds and flu were stopped in their tracks for more than a year.

However, since things have reopened and Brits are spending more time socialising, coughs, colds and flu are on the rise.

Because of this lots of people have rushed to Facebook, Twitter and TikTok to talk about how they have been ill for weeks with the “worst cold ever.”

What have doctors said about the worst cold ever? 

Dr Philippa Kaye, a GP in London, told the BBC: "We’ve actually been seeing a rise in the number of coughs and colds and viral infections.

"We are mixing in a way that we haven’t been mixing over the past 18 months.

"During those first lockdowns, we saw numbers of other [non-Covid] infections fall. 

“We think that that was primarily due to the restrictions on meeting up."

And with the season changing Professor Anthony Harnden, the deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, believes the situation will get worse.

He said that low flu immunity “could be potentially a bigger problem this winter than Covid”.

“We’ve had a very, very low prevalence of flu for the last few years, particularly virtually nil during lockdown, and we do know that when flu has been circulating in very low numbers immunity drops in the population, and it comes back to bite us,” he said.

Covid or a cold?

While the NHS states that the three main symptoms of coronavirus are a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell – experts have been warning for months that the symptom list needs updating.

Professor Tim Spector of King's College London and head of the ZOE Symptom Tracker App said more cold like symptoms are turning out to be Covid-19.

He has now urged people to get a coronavirus test if they have cold symptoms.

He said: "It’s easier to work at home, just spend a couple of days if you are feeling under the weather without spreading it around and get a test.

"If you do have a cold just think, it could be Covid, keep your distance before whether you know it is or not."

The 20 Covid symptoms you need to know

Here are the top 20 Covid symptoms based on data from the Zoe Symptom Tracker app and the percentage of people who have experienced them

  1. Headache (72 per cent)
  2. Runny nose (72 per cent)
  3. Sneezing (60 per cent)
  4. Sore throat (54 per cent)
  5. Cough (47 per cent)
  6. Loss of smell (46 per cent)
  7. Fever (43 per cent)
  8. Chills (35 per cent)
  9. Horse voice (34 per cent)
  10. Altered smell (34 per cent)
  11. Feeling dizzy (34 per cent)
  12. Other (34 per cent)
  13. Eye soreness (29 per cent)
  14. Brain fog (27 per cent)
  15. Skipped meals (26 per cent)
  16. Muscle pain (26 per cent)
  17. Chester pain (20 per cent)
  18. Diarrhoea (19 per cent)
  19. Swollen glands (18 per cent)
  20. Earache (18 per cent

Prof Spector said that symptoms have evolved from the three that the NHS is still listing and said that now, many people are 'absolutely not aware' that the virus can look like a cold.

"Especially if you’re young or you have been double vaccinated", he explained.

He added: "So we want people to stop a moment and think if they are going into crowded spaces."

Prof Spector said infections are high in the UK for two reasons. He explained that the first reason is a lack of masks and social distancing and the second is because we’re ignorant of the symptoms

"We should be looking out for things like sore throat, runny nose and sneezing. The classic three – cough, fever and anosmia are rarer these days, yet the government has done nothing.

"By not updating advice, we’re letting people into care homes, schools, workplaces and large gatherings displaying known signs of Covid."

What are the symptoms of a bad cold?


The NHS lists says a common cold can cause:

  • A blocked or runny nose
  • A sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Coughs
  • Sneezing
  • A raised temperature
  • Pressure in your ears and face
  • Loss of taste and smell


The NHS states the signs of flu include:

  • a sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above
  • an aching body
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • a dry cough
  • a sore throat
  • a headache
  • difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • feeling sick or being sick

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