Flu-like symptoms may be Covid: Derry doctor

Over the last few weeks, we have seen that the Covid 19 virus is quite active in the community, writes Dr Paul Molloy.

I’m hearing and seeing patients now who have had Covid twice or, even, three times.

In the last few years, the virus has changed. We hear that the newer variants spread quicker but aren’t as severe. This “antigenic shift”, as it’s called, is why you can get it again. At this point in time, it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t had Covid.

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I have also noticed that people are ringing with certain symptoms. Sore heads, palpitations and sore legs seem common at present.

The Covid-19 Northern Ireland spring booster programme will begin in April. Picture: Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The strange thing is that many people are also testing negative on lateral flow tests with the exact same set of symptoms as others in the house who are positive on LFTs.

If you are a doctor or nurse or visiting sick people, you might still want to consider a PCR test if you fall into this category.

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I still think that, given the circulating levels of Covid, if you have a flu-like illness, you’re wise to presume it is Covid until proven otherwise.

The other thing I have noticed is that many people who are healthy are reporting that their bout of Covid was really quite bad. My response to this is: imagine what it would have been like if you hadn’t been vaccinated?

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I hope we are reaching the stage where Covid will become like influenza and there will be times of the year when it sticks its head up but we won’t need to be tested and it just causes a flu like illness. I expect there will be a yearly vaccine available.

○ Dr Paul Molloy is a general practitioner working in Derry.