How to avoid catching 'worst cold ever' as thousands come down with mystery illness

By Daniel Morrow

Thousands of people are coming down with what many have described as the ‘worst cold ever’ as the country continues to get used to life beyond lockdown.

Social media has been filled with ill Scots complaining about a severe bout of the common cold in recent weeks.

And it has been claimed that the recent spike in cases of this strain of the cold has been thanks to the lifting of most remaining Covid restrictions back in August.

The reopening of nightclubs, the return of full capacity football matches and the removal of social distancing rules means that Scots have been allowed to gather in large groups again for the first time in around 18 months.

Experts say that our immune system has weakened after lengthy spells of staying at home (Getty Images)

Experts say that the time we spent staying at home has had a knock on effect on our immune systems, which has made us more susceptible to this new mystery illness.

Professor Anthony Harnden, the deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said that the UK is in for a tough flu and cold season this winter.

He said: “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.”

A number of Scots have become sick with the 'worst cold ever' in recent weeks (Getty Images)

How to avoid the common cold

There is no sure way to completely avoid catching the common cold, but there are ways that you can prevent infection.

The NHS says that a person with a cold can begin spreading it from a few days before their symptoms begin until the symptoms have finished.

Scots can minimise their chance of catching it by washing their hands regularly with warm water and soap or by using hand sanitiser.

Household items, such as towels and cups, should not be shared with someone who has a cold.

Experts also suggest not touching your eyes or nose in case you have come into contact with someone who has the cold - it can infect your body in this way.

And generally, Scots are recommended to stay fit and healthy wherever possible.

Anyone who has come down with cold is recommended to follow this guidance, in addition to using tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze.

Used tissues should be disposed off as soon as possible.

Those who have come down with the cold should rest as much as possible, keep warm, and drink plenty of fluids during their illness.

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