Summer cold viruses are worse than usual and here's why

cold sneezing
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Got the sniffles? It seems like the summer cold season is back and worse than usual.

Physicians across the nation are noticing a recent rise in respiratory viruses. But why? Like almost everything else lately, you can blame it on the pandemic.

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When COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were in full force across the United States, flu and cold viruses stopped spreading as the majority of people wore masks, socially distanced and avoided crowded spaces.

Now that those restrictions have been lifted, masks are off and hugs and handshakes are back. Doctors say it's no surprise that run-of-the-mill viruses causing coughs and congestion are making a resurgence.

The easing of social distancing and resumption of crowded gatherings has led to a rise in cold cases usually seen during the fall and winter months.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is especially concerned about one common respiratory virus: respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The illness typically results in mild, cold-like symptoms but can be severe in infants and elderly adults. The CDC says a surge in the virus is particularly unusual for this time of year. While RSV is most notable in several southern states, the virus has cropped up all over the country.

Many people are now more aware of their symptoms when they start feeling sick, and those of a cold are often similar to COVID-19. However, health experts say if you’ve been vaccinated, you've likely just caught a cold. The main symptom that distinguishes a cold from COVID-19 is the loss of taste or smell.

One way to protect yourself from catching a summer cold is to continue practicing good hand washing and sanitizing. Also keep your distance from others, especially in crowded spaces. If you do feel sick, stay home to prevent exposing others.

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