Uptick in viral infections likely as society returns to 'normal,' Duke doctors say

Josh Chapin Image
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Uptick in viral infections likely as society returns to 'normal'
Not many people are coming down with the common cold in the past year, but now they seem to be making a comeback as we return to a so-called normal.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Who in the last year hasn't wondered whether their runny nose, sniffles or sneezing was COVID, allergies or a cold?

All are out there and you might have forgotten that other kinds of viral infections do exist.

"I think it remains to be seen but my general sense would be that people might be a little bit more aware of getting sick," said Dr. Becky Smith -- an infectious diseases specialist at Duke University Hospital.

She believes with people congregating more, it's likely there will be an uptick in sicknesses as simple as the common cold and other viral infections.

"There might be almost an artificial increase in what people are feeling," she said. "In reality, you get used to the day-to-day if you have children at home and they might bring home a bug like in the old days."

Dr. Smith said new-found work from home policies and better infection control policies should cut down on infections in general. If you are unsure about what you might have, she said it's important to get a COVID-19 test to be safe.

"I felt the change in the pollen around January because that's my sign," said Tyrone Griffith.

He might have also developed a cold by then but not this year or last.

"All of 2020 I noticed that no one had a cold, I didn't develop a cold, no flu or anything like that," Tyrone said.

He was going into the office several times a week as well. He plans to continue to wear a mask if it cuts down on the number of times he got sick.

"If I can find a mask that doesn't stand out that because of the pollen and because of the cold around the year, I'd do it," he said.