TikToker’s have received millions of views through sharing their symptoms
TikTok/ciarruuhh and itsvaleriamiranda
Young people on TikTok are suddenly discovering that the common cold is still a thing, after getting sick with a cough, runny nose and fever without having coronavirus.
Many of those on the app seem baffled - saying that they know their illness it isn’t strep nor allergies, and that it feels like something worse but don’t know what it could be.
Some have even gone as far as suggesting that there could be a “new, mysterious illness” going about, VICE reported.
But fear not, all of these symptoms are just that of... the common cold.
And there is a simple reason for the spike in the number of people experiencing this particular illness.
Over the past year, all of us have been isolated from each other through wearing facemasks, and following social distancing measures, and lockdown restrictions.
Due to the lack of social mixing, the common cold hasn’t been able to spread among people causing the rates of flu and infection to slump.
But now the common cold is making its comeback, as coronavirus vaccines are being distributed, and society returns to normal.
TikTok/becky.sobel and thickmama10
“When we talk about a cold there are actually hundreds of viruses that cause colds. That’s why you keep getting them,” Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston told Motherboard.
“That’s why when you have a child in preschool, they are always bringing them home and you’re catching them.”
Though, watching TikToker’s describe their symptoms, you would think that they have never even heard of the common cold.
Despite people posting more about their illness, Troisi says that it is unlikely we’ve become more susceptible to the common cold.
Rather, it’s down to the fact we haven’t been outside as often.
She explains: “It is true that we have not been exposed so much to colds during the last year.”
“Whether our immune systems faded so much during that year to these viruses, we don’t really know because we’ve never been in this situation before,” Troisi added.
“Theoretically it’s possible that our immunity has waned somewhat, but I wouldn’t say that’s been proven and I wouldn’t say that that’s the only explanation.”
Perhaps people have also forgotten over the past year what it is like to have the common cold, if they haven’t had one since before the pandemic.
The age of the TikTok creators is also important to note as they are younger, and therefore more susceptible to colds.
“Generally speaking, children and young people experience more frequent colds and more severe symptoms, and TikTok users tend to be younger so the sample is biased in that respect,” Elizabeth Scott, a microbiologist and Associate Dean and Professor of Biology, College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences at Simmon’s University told Motherboard.
“The common cold is endemic in most human societies and it is not surprising that we are encountering it again as we start mingling more freely and without masks,” Scott explained.
She also added that the common cold “it is not a threat to our health.”
So, next time you’re experiencing any of those symptoms - remember that the common cold is still around and is harmless before labelling it as a “mystery virus” on TikTok.