Doctor warns winter bug ‘worse’ than common cold sweeping UK can last weeks

Doctor explains how to prepare for the upcoming flu season

A doctor has warned that people infected with a mystery winter bug currently “sweeping” the UK could experience frustrating symptoms for as long as three weeks.

As previously reported by, some people have taken to social media to complain about a debilitating “worst” ever cold.

Sufferers described being left bedridden for days and housebound for weeks.

However, they stated that any Covid tests they had taken came back negative.

Some of their symptoms include blocked nose, headache, fatigue, fever and a cough.

READ MORE ‘Brutal’ cold ‘worse than any winter bug ever’ sweeping the UK

Speaking exclusively with, Doctor Johannes Uys – GP at Broadgate General Practice – warned that these could be long lasting.

“While little is currently known about the winter bug currently sweeping through the UK, reports have described it as almost flu-like, with some cases resulting in near-complete nasal congestion and spanning up to three weeks,” he said.

“Covid tests have come back negative, suggesting this bug is something else entirely, although there has been some speculation that this might be a new variant that the existing Covid tests simply aren’t able to pick up.

“Either way, it seems to be somewhat worse than the common cold.”

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Dr Uys said that it is common for various flu strains and other viruses to circulate around the UK at this time of year.

He explained: “This new bug is likely one of them, although it is possible that patients are reporting the effects of separate strains and viruses, rather than just the one.”

How to prevent becoming ill

Dr Uys shared some preventative measures against winter illnesses.

“You can protect yourself from becoming ill by washing your hands frequently throughout the day,” he said.

“Clean them thoroughly with soap and keep them away from your hands, your mouth and any unnecessary surfaces.

“You should aim to avoid close contact with people who have been affected.

“You can also strengthen your immune system by consuming a healthy balanced diet, rich in vitamins and minerals.

“Vitamin D deficiencies are common at this time of year due to the lack of direct sunlight exposure. This can be offset by taking a daily supplement.”

What to do if you experience symptoms?

The first thing you should do is take a Covid test to rule that possibility out, he said.

Dr Uys continued: “If the results come back negative, it’s quite possible you have this other winter bug, in which case you should get plenty of rest.

“For many people, it’s just a case of letting the infection run its course. If your symptoms worsen dramatically or you find yourself unable to breathe, you should seek out urgent medical attention.

“Those with pre-existing medical conditions that affect the immune system or cardiovascular system should consult their doctor, as they may be more susceptible to adverse effects.”

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