Research Shows Why Some Colds Seem to Last Weeks

Like COVID, other respiratory infections and their effects can linger
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2023 2:40 PM CDT
Research Shows Why Some Colds Seem to Last Weeks

As far as acute respiratory infections go, lingering symptoms aren't just for COVID-19, researchers have found. "Long colds" and their symptoms can last more than four weeks, according to a study published Friday in the Lancet's EClinicalMedicine journal. "Our findings may chime with the experience of people who have struggled with prolonged symptoms after having a respiratory infection despite testing negative for COVID-19 on a nose or throat swab," said Adrian Martineau, a clinical professor at Queen Mary University of London, where the research was conducted.

The findings may mean that non-COVID acute respiratory infections such as colds, influenza, and pneumonia can have long-lasting health effects that haven't been recognized, the Guardian reports. Researchers haven't seen indications that the effects are as severe as those of long COVID, but the infections caused prolonged symptoms at the same rate—22%. Certain typical long COVID issues involving taste and smell, for example, were less common with long colds than with long COVID, per NBC News. The severity of the infection is one indicator, but Martineau said further research may uncover other reasons the lasting symptoms affect some people more than others, enabling treatments to be developed. (More common cold stories.)

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