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The common cold, other illnesses are still circulating

The common cold, other illnesses are still circulating

Wearing masks, social distancing measures, more handwashing or using more hand sanitizer and extra cleaning are helping many avoid COVID-19; yet, it may not always protect us from less troubling infections such as colds, stomach bugs and strep throat.

That’s right. You can still get the common cold even while you’re masking. Why? According to Campbell County Health Infection Preventionist Kimberly Lindeman some cold germs, such as Rhinovirus, simply live longer on surfaces than COVID-19.

“SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19; however, hundreds of different viruses can cause the common cold,” she says.

Johns Hopkins confirms that a cold is caused by any one of more than 200 different viruses, and these viruses cause inflammation of the membranes that line the nose and throat.

So, if you have caught a cold in spite of wearing masks and social distancing this year, it is likely from touching surfaces that are infected with the cold virus. According to Scientific American, rhinoviruses and noroviruses are more resistant to sanitizers and disinfectants, and may last longer on fingertips and surfaces. Research has shown that rhinoviruses may survive up to 3 hours outside of the nasal lining.

Kim explains further: “Even when we believe we are being extra careful, there is room for error. Good hand hygiene, masking, and social distancing all help to keep us healthy. However, if we take our mask off, contaminate our hands and touch our face, we could accidentally expose ourselves. Tiny interactions like touching an infected door knob and then eating without washing our hands could lead to catching a cold.”

You can be without symptoms for 24 to 48 hours and still spread respiratory diseases as well. So we can be spreading the disease without even feeling sick!

Moral of the story: continue to wash your hands, wear a mask, social distance, don’t come to work sick, and give yourself a break if you do get sick.

Since colds are caused by viruses, treatment with antibiotics won’t work. Some signs of a cold include a stuffy, runny nose; scratchy, tickly throat; sneezing; watery eyes; and a low-grade fever. Cold symptoms can last from several days to several weeks. If your symptoms get worse, contact your healthcare provider.

CCH is open, safe and ready to see you.

With almost 80 physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in nearly 20 specialties, CCH is committed to your wellbeing right here in Campbell County, Wyoming. If you have been putting off a visit to your doctor for a regular checkup, contact them; they can help weigh your personal healthcare risk and avoid further delayed diagnoses. Visit www.cchwyo.org/findadoc to find your provider or clinic.

For medical emergencies, call 911. If you are in crisis and need to talk to a counselor, please call 307-688-5555.