Fred Hartman

Even though we’ve dealt with COVID-19 for the past 15 months, that doesn’t mean other illnesses aren’t still around. But COVID is still top of my mind even though the virus shares many symptoms with allergies and the common cold (also a coronavirus).

Three weeks ago from tomorrow, I woke up on a Monday morning with a sore throat so bad that it felt like I’d swallowed a sleeve of razor blades.

That was accompanied by a runny nose, congestion, cough and overwhelming feeling of fatigue. And even though it’s nasty to say or write, I was hacking up yellow and green gunk.

I felt terrible, and immediately thought of COVOD even though I’d been vaccinated a couple of months ago. I wondered if I’d be one of the low percentage of people who still get the virus after being vaccinated.

As clinical trials have shown, the vaccines are effective, but not perfect.

My condition got progressively worse over the next few days and I came to the conclusion I had a bad case of the common cold. I knew it wasn’t COVID because I didn’t have fever, chills, a loss of taste or smell, breathing problems or stomach distress.

Therefore, I didn’t feel it was necessary to isolate or get either a rapid test or PCR COVID test.

I didn’t call my doctor at first because having been in this situation many times before, I figured there was nothing she could do for me. I’d just have to ride it out for 10 days or so.

However, that weekend, I was coughing so bad that it sounded like I worked in the West Virginia coal mines. The cold seemed to have taken residence in my chest, as well as my sinuses.

I was concerned the cold might have turned into an infection, and ended up seeing my doctor in case I needed antibiotics. The doc said she thought it was just a cold, but to be on the safe side, ordered a chest X-ray to make sure I hadn’t developed pneumonia.

Everything was clear, but it took 14 days to start feeling normal again. But the cough stayed with me an extra week even though I started taking a stronger cough medicine and was eating cough drops like candy.

I was perplexed about getting such a bad cold because I take a daily regimen of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc and multi-vitamins. But I also did some research and found out that the common cold is making a comeback.

Dr. Perry Halkitis of Rutgers University told CBS-New York that you can catch a cold no matter how strong or healthy your immunity is.

“It’s a natural phenomenon,” he said. “People are engaging with each other again, not washing hands, coughing on each other, interacting and spreading disease.”

I guess that means we’re getting back to normal — or the old normal — but aren’t spreading COVID as much.

What I haven’t mentioned yet is my both of my kids came down with similar symptoms the week before, and probably gave the cold to me. Plus, we had a party at our house for their Little League baseball team the day before my cold started.

What’s amazing is my kids are almost 9, and I don’t remember ever getting sick from them. But I know I’ve passed along some ailments to them.

I guess what goes around comes around. Just remember if you start feeling crummy and develop cold symptoms, it’s probably just that and not anything worse. That’s especially true if you’re vaccinated.

But if you’re worried and need peace of mind, don’t hesitate to call the doc.

Reach Fred Hartman at

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