What are the chances that you, a loved one, or a coworker came down with a case of the sniffles at some point this summer? Pretty high, if Internet chatter is to be believed. 

And no, we’re not talking about COVID-19, but good, old-fashioned cold and flu symptoms instead. Just as the CDC cleared vaccinated individuals for group gatherings and larger-scale events, it seemed that runny noses and sore throats made their comeback, too. 

Is it as simple as, are group gatherings to blame for a higher transmission of germs? Or, did the months spent social distancing and wearing masks actually make our immune systems more sensitive to cold and flu germs?

We asked an expert for her input. 

Social distancing and mask wearing did not make us more sensitive to germs and colds. 

However, kids develop their immune systems by getting familiar with common colds and viral illnesses. As they experience different seasons and more exposure, they develop better immunity. 

The reason we are seeing more colds/common viral illnesses is due to more people getting vaccinated, therefore shedding masks and eliminating social distancing. Kids now will indeed get more exposure and expand their immunity. 

Saleha Butt, MD

Internal Medicine, Mercy Comprehensive Care Center

Best Practices to Combat Cold and Flu, Then and Now 

“Regardless of season, of vaccine status or pandemic,” Dr. Butt says, “common sense practices should prevail.” Here’s what she recommends: 

  • Proper hand washing
  • Frequent sanitization and cleaning frequently touched surfaces
  • Staying home [and keeping kids home] in case of illness to limit spread

When to Seek Medical Care

Cold and flu often don’t require a trip to the doctor. However, there are times when symptoms persist that you may want to reach out to your primary care physician. If you or your child experience a fever over 104 degrees F, continued congestion more than 10 days, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, and/or a cough that improves but returns or worsens, you should seek medical treatment.

Dr. Saleha Butt specializes in Internal Medicine and is accepting new patients. She sees patients out of Mercy Comprehensive Care Center, located South of the city near Buffalo’s First Ward neighborhood. To view her office information, please click here.

Find an Internal Medicine Specialist Near You
Call (716) 706-2112

Find an Internal Medicine Specialist Near You
Call (716) 706-2112