Common cold vs. COVID: Hartford HealthCare doctor weighs in on the difference, how to protect yourself

Coronavirus

(WTNH) — Summer isn’t typically the time of year we expect to be sneezing, sniffling, or coughing. But, with more people ditching their masks and gathering in groups, doctors said we’re seeing common illnesses return.

This has led some to wonder is this just a cold, or is this COVID-19?  Symptoms are very similar, so the best way to be sure is to get tested.

“If anyone has any symptoms that may be a common cold, they should probably still get tested, even if they’ve been vaccinated,” explained Dr. Ulysses Wu, System Director of Infectious Diseases at Hartford HealthCare.

Dr. Wu said there have been some breakthrough cases in people who have been fully vaccinated. He said getting tested not only better protects yourself, but also those around you.

“If you feel ill, it could be COVID,” said Dr. Wu. “You may put other people at risk.”

If you’re not feeling well, it’s good to practice those health and safety measures we’ve grown accustomed to over the last year, which include wearing your mask, washing your hands, and staying home if possible. 

“Masking works not just for COVID, but for everything else,” said Dr. Wu.

Dr. Wu also encouraged everyone to get vaccinated. 

“By getting vaccinated, you’re decreasing the transmission,” explained Dr. Wu. “By decreasing the transmission, there’s less chance of mutation.”

He said by getting the shot, we’re all working towards the common goal of putting the pandemic in the past.

“All the stuff we’re enjoying right now – going out to eat, going to the grocery store without a mask, going to the bank without a mask, hanging out with groups – we owe it all to vaccinations at this point!” said Dr. Wu. 

Both vaccines and tests are readily available in Connecticut. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your doctor for more information. 

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