We have the new weekly weight loss injection pen in stock here.

    From £3.99
    • Results in just 15 minutes
    • Easy to use
    • Diagnoses COVID-19
    From £8.99
    • 99% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency
    • Medical Respirator Masks
    • Protects the respiratory system
    1234 · 20 min read

    Is there a link between the common cold virus and long COVID?

    We've all heard a lot about COVID-19. It's been big news in the UK and around the world. Some people who get better from COVID-19 still feel sick for a long time after. This is called 'long COVID'. But have you ever wondered if there's a link between long COVID and the common cold we get every now and then? In this article, we'll talk about what COVID-19 is, what long COVID means, and how it might be connected to the common cold. 

    What is the common cold virus?

    The common cold, also known as upper respiratory tract infection (URI), is an acute, self-limited viral infection of the upper airway that also may involve the lower respiratory tract (Pappas, 2018). The common cold is primarily caused by a group of viruses known as rhinoviruses. However, other viruses, such as coronaviruses (not to be confused with the specific virus that causes COVID-19) and adenoviruses, can also be responsible for cold symptoms. The most common symptoms of the common cold are (Allan & Arroll, 2014):

    • Runny or stuffy nose

    • Sore throat

    • Cough

    • Mild headache

    • Fatigue

    • Sneezing

    • Muscle aches

    • Mild fever (more common in children)

    • Watery eyes

    • Loss of appetite

    • Difficulty sleeping

    What is COVID?

    Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly contagious viral illness caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Cascella et al, 2023). It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei province of China, and it subsequently led to a global pandemic. COVID-19 symptoms range from mild to severe and can include fever, persistent cough, loss of taste or smell, and difficulty breathing. Some individuals can be asymptomatic, meaning they don't display symptoms even though they are infected.

    The virus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. It can also spread by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the face. The UK experienced several waves of COVID-19 infections, leading to lockdowns and various restrictions to curb the spread. The National Health Service (NHS) was at the forefront of managing and treating patients while the government rolled out vaccination campaigns.

    What is long COVID?

    Long-COVID, sometimes referred to as "post-COVID-19 syndrome" or "long-haul COVID", describes a range of symptoms that continue for weeks or months after the acute phase of a COVID-19 infection has resolved. Some people who experience long-COVID haven't been hospitalised with the virus, indicating that even mild cases of COVID-19 can lead to longer-term symptoms. 

    On average, around 10% of COVID-19 cases result in long-COVID (Davis et al, 2023). By definition, long-COVID symptoms persist for weeks or months. For some, they can last for more than a year. If someone believes they might be experiencing long-COVID, they should seek medical advice. In the UK, the NHS offers guidance and resources on this topic. The most common symptoms of long-COVID are as follows (Raveendran et al, 2021):

    • Fatigue

    • Cough

    • Chest tightness

    • Breathlessness

    • Palpitations

    • Myalgia

    • Difficulty to focus

    It is believed that people will simply need to live alongside the COVID-19 virus, and its subsequent effects, such as long-COVID (Koc et al, 2022). Long COVID is not fully understood. According to the National Institue of Health, Dr. Andrea Foulkes of the RECOVER Data Resource Core, Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts General Hospital says, “One of the big take-aways from this study is [that] long COVID is not just one syndrome; it’s a syndrome of syndromes.”

    Could the common cold virus predispose some people to develop long COVID?

    The relationship between the common cold virus and COVID-19 is a topic of interest, given that both are caused by coronaviruses. However, there is no direct evidence to suggest that prior infection with the common cold virus could predispose someone to develop long-COVID. Research from NIH (2023) has suggested that T cells (a type of immune cell) from individuals who haven't been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19) can react to it. This is possible because of previous exposure to common cold coronaviruses, which might share some similarities with SARS-CoV-2.

    Despite this, while both the common cold and COVID-19 are caused by coronaviruses, the viruses themselves are different in many aspects, including their mechanisms of infection and the body's immune response to them. Therefore, the long-term effects (like long-COVID) of one cannot be directly extrapolated to the other.

    What common cold medications are available to buy at UK Meds?

    If you are suffering from the common cold, we have a number of different products that you can purchase online from UK Meds to help treat your condition, including:

    If you believe that you have COVID-19, if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or if you are suffering from the symptoms of long COVID then UK Meds have products available for you including lateral flow tests and FFP3 masks


    Here to help you

    Our Customer Service is available Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm. If you need urgent assistance, do not use this service. Call 111, or in an emergency call 999. Visit our help section