What you need to know about “Flurona”, the double infection with Covid and the flu

Each new wave has its own vocabulary: Alpha, Beta, Delta, Omicron. For some time now, the term “Flurona” has appeared in the press. It designates people infected with both the Covid and the flu. Cases have been identified in the United States, Israel, Brazil and elsewhere.

But if the term is catchy and worries those who read it, the phenomenon is not new. In Scientific American, Raghu Adiga, chief medical officer at Liberty Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, points to his media coverage. “The way this story was taken out of context is yet another example of the type of internet disinformation that haunts all of us trying to tackle the current real crisis.”, he laments.

Uncommon

Cases of Covid / flu co-infection have already been documented or suspected since the start of the pandemic. Nothing more normal, explains the doctor: “In a world population largely unvaccinated against Covid-19 or the flu, it is reasonable to find patients who can catch both viruses at the same time.”

If, in 2021, the flu epidemic was fairly superficial (surely due to the closure of shops, restaurants and schools, as well as the widespread wearing of masks), this year it could be much larger. In parallel, the Omicron wave in which we are blowing up the cases of Covid. It would therefore not be surprising to see more cases of “Flurona” appear.

Although the vast majority of people with the flu or Covid recover, experts urge taking these viruses seriously. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 800,000 Covid-related deaths in the United States, and the flu causes between 12,000 and 52,000 deaths in the country each year.

If the cases of “Flurona” are not new, we must be aware that this double contamination is possible. “When you are infected, your immune system is under attack. As a result, your immune defenses are weakened. And therefore your ability to defend yourself against another infection is reduced ”, says David Edwards, an aerosol scientist who teaches at Harvard University.

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But rest assured, the probabilities of developing “Flurona” are quite low, especially if you continue to strictly apply the health recommendations. Namely: flu vaccination, vaccination and its reminders against Covid, wearing a mask, physical distancing, good hand washing, getting tested for flu and Covid when you have symptoms and staying at home when you are sick. Additionally, many experts recommend switching to N95 or KN95 (FFP2 in France) masks.

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