Is the 'worst lurgy ever' going around? Why colds will be worse this winter

Have you caught an awful cold recently? Here’s why this year’s illnesses are worse than ever.

By Rachael Davies
Monday, 25th October 2021, 1:21 pm

It’s natural for a lot of people to get the sniffles at this time of year, but have you been noticing that more people than usual have been laid low by a nasty cold? It’s not Covid, but it’s also often much worse than the average common cold.

The world is vaccinated, things are opening up again, and people are starting to be out and about once more. However, the toll of being on lockdown for most of the last two years is still having an effect.

Here’s why the worst cold ever might be going around this winter and how you can prevent it from happening to you.

Here's why the worst cold ever might be going around this winter. Photo: dragana991 / Canva Pro /Getty Images.

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Is the worst lurgy ever going around?

Health experts have warned that winter 2021 could see much worse colds going around, due to the fact that the majority of the population has been in contact with far fewer people during lockdown. We have been exposed to fewer strains of the common cold, but now that we’re back mixing with people again, the autumnal illness is back with a bang.

“September and October normally provide a bit of respite in terms of seasonal sickness for the NHS, but GPs are already seeing patients presenting with a lot of respiratory illnesses – much earlier than normal for coming into winter, likely as a result of not being exposed to them as much at the start of this year when we were under stricter COVID restrictions” explained Dr Andrew Buist, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee.

“As such, it’s vital that the Scottish Government has a solid plan in place to deal with winter pressures in the NHS, as there is a very real risk it could be overwhelmed by the demand, and make clear that both NHS Inform and local pharmacists are also well equipped to give advice on more common colds and respiratory illnesses.”

If you’re feeling under the weather, consider visiting a pharmacist for advice and medication before your GP, both to be seen faster and to alleviate the pressure on GPs.

How do I get rid of a cold?

Keeping your body as healthy as possible is the best way to prevent a cold. Keeping your body moving, even when it’s cold outside, helps keep your energy levels high, so try to exercise or go for a walk every day.

Eating green, leafy vegetables also helps to boost your immune system. You can improve this even more by getting more Vitamin D into your system, either through supplements or through natural sources like oranges.

Lastly, get lots of sleep at regular times and avoid alcohol and caffeine where possible. Both of these can play havoc with your immune system and leave you vulnerable to colds.

What’s helpful is that we’ve actually all been practising ways to prevent colds for the last couple of years. Washing your hands regularly, keeping your distance from people where possible, and wearing masks will all help to keep the nasty cold at bay.