Morgan Bell
Morgan Bell
February 26, 2021

Catching a Cold During a Global Pandemic

Illustration by Jules Keenan

It started with a sore throat. That’s usually the first symptom when I become sick. The next day that sore and itchy throat turned into a cough, accompanied with a runny nose and an aching head. Panic started to kick in. It’s COVID, I definitely caught COVID, I thought to myself.

It’s weird to think that common cold-like symptoms can now be an indicator of a deadly virus that has taken over the world. What was once shrugged off with cold and sinus medication is now a trip to the ER in a panic. Flu season is one like no other this year. 

Luckily, I did not have COVID and simply came down with a sinus infection accompanied with a slight head cold. Even though I knew I was going to catch a cold as my daughter, who’s in daycare, and my boyfriend had recently been sick, I immediately thought the worst. It could be my anxiety, or it could be the general panic seen from the public. Whatever it was, I’m sure others this flu season will do the same and fear they have COVID.

Instead of toughing it out through your work because I can’t afford the time off, now I have no choice but to stay home. Most buildings and public facilities do not allow people to enter if they have two or more of the long list of COVID symptoms, but of course the majority of these symptoms are also those of a common cold or flu.

I’m sure some people lie in order to avoid overreactions, but for the public’s safety and my own, I figure it’s better to just stay home and become a couch potato until my symptoms wear off. 

Being a student, staying home is clearly easy this year. But being a mom, staying home is a bit of a challenge. I had no one else to drop my daughter off at daycare, so I would simply go and avoid contact with others by not going past the main entrance. Instead of going into places like gas stations and grocery stores, I would turn to the many alternatives that are now available. Things like ordering groceries online, paying at the pump, and sticking to drive-thru services are more ideal. 

If you're an introvert like me, then staying home won’t be that bad for you. I enjoyed laying around all day in sweats, cuddling with my puppy, and binge watching The Office on Netflix. If you're also like me and tend to get sick every other week when cold weather strikes, then getting the flu shot may be a good idea. Our own UNB student nurses are administering the flu shot for free this year, along with the usual doctor’s offices and pharmacies.

The thing that was the most inconvenient to me was having to explain to everyone why my nose was runny and why I had a raspy voice. Even though you know it’s not COVID, other people may not believe you. To avoid seeming like a Karen and getting blasted on social media, I strongly advise you to avoid people when you’re sick and to stay home.

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