Portrait of scared young woman in white turtleneck with napkin blowing nose, closed eyes, isolated on blue background. Rhinitis, dust and pollen seasonal allergy.

One of the added benefits of the constant mask wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic was how the coverings helped mitigate the spread of viral infections to the point that this last cold and flu season was one of the tamest in years. So while the increased removal of face masks is causing relief for people all across the country, the mass doffing could also result in a return of the cold and flu, reports ABC 11.

While cold and flu season doesn't start up for at least a few more months, some symptoms are already showing after mask shedding.

Jessica Dixon, an infection prevention specialist at WakeMed, a health system in metropolitan Raleigh, North Carolina, told ABC 11 that WakeMed is already seeing patients who have a cough, headaches, sore throat, and a stuff and runny nose.

Of course, some of the symptoms of the cold or flu are similar to those of COVID-19, so doctors say people who aren't vaccinated should get tested for coronavirus. 

No matter what, it's a good idea to keep washing one's hands in an effort to prevent cold symptoms.