Summer Colds Are Making a Comeback

Are you finally seeing friends and relatives again after a long year of social distancing and masks? Watch out: You just might catch a cold.
Symptoms of a cold can overlap with those of COVID-19, adding a layer of worry

It’s tough to find a silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic, especially now that the highly infectious delta variant is in the mix. But one positive outcome of all the social distancing and mask-wearing we’ve been doing over the last year or so is that many of us, perhaps for the first time in memory, got through all four seasons without coming down with a cold.

This summer, though, as people are catching up on lost socializing time, colds have made a comeback. Some of the sick are saying these colds are especially bad.

In July, Lisa Sanders, 57, a nonprofit director living in Silver Spring, Maryland, had to take a half-day off from work and cancel an upcoming weekend trip because of a cold. “I hadn’t been that sick in a long time,” she says. “I felt weak and congested, and my husband got sick, too.”

The overlap between symptoms of a cold and symptoms of COVID-19 can add a layer of anxiety. Odette Veneziano, a marketing professional living in New York City, was worried enough about her runny nose, headache, and nasal congestion in late May that she went for a COVID-19 test. “It came back negative, but it was the first time I’d had symptoms like that since the pandemic started,” she says. “For five days, I was extremely fatigued, which was a real concern. The cold felt so much worse than usual that I marked those days on my calendar.”