Doctors see surge in the common cold as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Dr. Raj Brhambhatt says that about 20% of the patients at Riverside Medical Group in Secaucus are coming in because of cold symptoms. He says that it is quite the difference from last year.

News 12 Staff

Jun 17, 2021, 9:29 PM

Updated 1,034 days ago

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Precautions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also may have stopped the spread of other viruses like the common cold and the flu.
But as many of the COVID-19 restrictions are eased, health officials say that cases of the common cold are on the rise.
“We’ve seen a surge in respiratory illnesses – common colds, sinus infections, bronchitis,” says Dr. Raj Brhambhatt.
Brhambhatt says that about 20% of the patients at Riverside Medical Group in Secaucus are coming in because of cold symptoms. He says that it is quite the difference from last year.
“They were pretty much nonexistent. I think at this point we all know why - the masks,” Brhambhatt says.
But now that the masks have come off and people are gathering and traveling once again, these illnesses are coming back. Health care providers expected it and are prepared.
“I’ve been telling my doctors to get ready for a slew of respiratory illnesses. We know how to handle it. We’ve done it in the past. We just haven’t seen it lately,” Brhambhatt says.
Doctors say that things may get worse as it gets closer to flu season this fall.
“Tens of thousands of people die from flu every year. Tens of thousands of people end in hospitals for weeks on end every year. But now we know we can prevent it easily from wearing a mask,” Brhambhatt says.
Doctors are expecting to see a surge in colds after the Fourth of July holiday due to celebration events.
Health experts say that everyone should continue to practice some of the lessons learned during the pandemic – washing hands regularly, staying home when feeling sick and wearing a mask when not feeling well. They also urge those who can, to get a flu shot when it is available.


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