Common cold and flu cases rise as local COVID restrictions are dropped

As mask mandates drop across the country, health officials said the common cold and flu cases are re-emerging.

The common cold and flu are making a comeback after COVID-19 stole the spotlight.

“We’re also seeing other respiratory viruses and in my own personal experience, it looks like that’s been increasing,” Dr. Frank Rhame, Allina Health infectious disease specialist, said.

Health experts said fighting off these viruses is no longer an easy battle.

“Our immunity should be less now than it was three years ago because it hasn’t been stimulated by two waves of influenza. So last year, it was almost absent. That’s completely remarkable,” Rhame said.

Common cold and flu medicine is a hot commodity and some said it’s difficult to keep the shelves stocked with merchandise.

“The weird thing is in the last few months, certain cough and cold products like generic Robitussin DM for example, that’s been kind of an oddball that we have not been able to get,” Cheng Lo, Phalen Family Pharmacy pharmacist, said.

At Phalen Family Pharmacy, Lo said the cold medicine supply is not keeping up with the recent uptick in demand.

“It has been steadily rising in the last few months,” Lo said.

Doctors said the best way to stay healthy is to keep your guard up.

“Anybody who tries to predict influenza is a fool. It’s really unpredictable and we could see a late surge,” Rhame said.

Doctors want to remind patients if you do have cold or flu symptoms, it’s important to take a covid test because the symptoms are similar.