Why do colds last so long this year?
Although there is no data to show that the colds either colds this year last longer than other winters, this is the perception that many have family physicians and pediatricians. Others, however, qualify that it is not that there are more prolonged symptoms, but that there are several viruses circulating that chain different infections.
“People comment that they have more prolonged symptoms, although It’s not something we can objectify.” says the epidemiologist Antoni Trilla, Head of Preventive Medicine at Hospital Clínic de Barcelona. According to him, there is no “clear and single” explanation why this is happening, although he thinks a “possible” reason is that this winter there is a “high circulation” of cold viruses, that is, from viruses that are not covid-19, like the two years ago.
“We come from two or three years that we have been more protected, more isolated, wearing masks, and this year we have had more contact with these viruses. That makes our immune training has deteriorated. It’s not that we’ve lost immunity, it’s that we are not trained” Trila points out.
This epidemiologist recalls that the absence of restrictions that marked the previous years (especially the mask, which is no longer mandatory tomorrow on public transport) has made infections more frequent, “and that makes people have more symptoms and get reinfected.
Also Jordi Mestres Lucero, family doctor and member of the Catalan Society of Family and Community Medicine (Camfic), has the perception that colds “last more days” than other years. “We see that the symptoms last longer, but They are not more serious” Mestres explains. For example, the cough or congestion “lasts longer,” about “10 days or so,” but It’s nothing “exaggerated”.
This GP points out “various hypotheses”. “We have spent several winters in which there has been a increased exposure to covid and there was this displacement of other viruses. Now, our immune system is reactivating, catching up,” says Mestres. Somehow, the immune system is making “like a reset”.
Various viruses circulating
However, Tony Soriano, doctor from the Pediatric Infectious Pathology and Immunodeficiencies Unit of the Vall d’Hebron Hospital, assures that it is not that the colds are lasting longer, but that “There are more viruses circulating at the same time”, which can give the impression that viral pictures last longer.
For example, now in Catalonia there is a lot of flu B, but at the end of the year there was a lot of influenza A and previously, a lot respiratory syncytial virus (VRS, responsible for bronchiolitis). “They are appearing different epidemic waves of different viruses, and that gives the feeling that colds never end, but it is because we are hooking different viruses, “explains this pediatrician. Soriano does not rule out that there is a peak of influenza B like the one that was weeks ago of influenza A.
In Catalonia, the flu rises again clearly, Meanwhile he covid It continues at low levels, with a drop in admissions and a record low number of critical patients in the ICU since the start of the pandemic: seven patients. The overall incidence of acute respiratory infections (ARI) shows a new upward trend in Catalonia, with 60,014 cases registered in the week of January 30 to February 5, according to the Information System for the Surveillance of Infections in Catalonia (Sivic).
The flu diagnoses There are 7,090 this last week, compared to 4,257 the previous week, and the estimated incidence goes from 137 to 226 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which indicates a possible new start of epidemic peak (which would be the second of the season),
It also increases the covid although much lower levels: in primary care diagnoses grow from 1,189 to 1,396 positives and the estimated incidence goes from 28 to 34 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
In the sentinel System Samples, SARS-CoV-2 is the least present (4.4%), while they lead the flu (29.1%) and rhinovirus (22.3%).
In hospitals, those admitted with covid decrease slightly, from 383 to 356, while in the last week the ucis have registered two historical lows since the pandemic began: on February 4 there were only 7 critics for this disease and the next day they went to 8.
Up to the present, the lowest number of patients in the icu due to covid It was 9 and had been recorded on a few days last September. In the last week, 24 people have died from covid, compared to 38 the previous week.
Source of data and images: elperiodico