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Cold Or COVID? Doctors Advise You To Get Tested, Even If You're Vaccinated

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - If you have cold symptoms, you're not alone.

The CDC has reported an uptick in respiratory cases this summer - but don't assume it's just a cold.

Doctors advise you should get a COVID test even if you're vaccinated.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff explains, we are back together, back to socializing, back on public transportation, back to spreading germs - and back to getting colds.

"A head cold. Runny nose, cough," said Keith Seigerman.

Fully vaccinated, Seigerman didn't think his cold was much to worry about while on vacation in Colorado with his partner. Even a doctor wrote it off.

"Everyone has this summer cold that's going around, and don't worry about it, its just a summer cold," Seigerman said.

Back home on Long Island, Urgent Care sent them away.

"The clinic sent us home without testing us for COVID and said it's a head cold," he said.


But Seigerman and two other members of the family have since tested positive for COVID-19.

"There is significant overlap of the presentation of the common cold and mild cases of COVID," said Dr. Martin Backer of NYU Langone Long Island.

Doctors at NYU Langone Long Island say while the vaccine is highly protective, vaccinated people with mild cold symptoms should get tested for COVID, because they could be unknowingly fueling the spread.

"Although they are milder and do well, we do want to try to identify them, because otherwise they can spread to others, grandparents or people with medical conditions at home, they can get sicker," said Dr. Leonard Krilov of NYU Langone Long Island.

With unmasking, other viruses are making a comeback and can cause confusion, because mild COVID symptoms can include stomach upset and sneezing.

"Sneezing is not considered to be a big feature of COVID, but yes absolutely, we can have rhinorrhea, which is runny nose, and that can trigger sneezing, a mild cough, a little not feeling well," Backer said.

Seigerman, now quarantining, says his positive test should be a wakeup call.

"Stay away from others. Do not infect other people," he said. "If you have the sniffles, go get tested for COVID before you spread it."

NYU Langone Hospital Long Island is part of a National Institutes of Health study on whether vaccinated people can in fact transmit COVID-19. But doctors say until we know more, it's logical to assume if you have mild symptoms you can transmit the virus.

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