Flu and Covid at the same time? Your ‘Flurona’ questions answered

Flu and Covid at the same time?  Your ‘Flurona’ questions answered

Reports of double infections with the flu virus and the coronavirus recently made headlines. Last week, Israel confirmed its first case of “flurona” in an unvaccinated woman, followed by a growing number of cases in children in the United States. Nobody was seriously ill, but the name “Flurona” stuck.

“It sounds like ‘Sharknado,'” said Dr. Saad B. Omer, the director of the Yale Institute for Global Health. “But it’s not a well-known medical term.”

When the flu season hits and the Omicron variant is on the rise, how concerned should we be? We spoke to experts to better understand what it could mean to test positive for both infections. Here’s what we learned

People have tested positive for both Covid-19 and influenza or flu since the pandemic began.

From late January to late March 2020, researchers in China in Wuhan found nearly 100 cases of patients who tested positive for both diseases. The Atlantic reported on a family in Queens who tested positive for both infections in February. And researchers in Barcelona published a paper in May 2020 describing four people with both diseases in the first few months of the pandemic.

In the period before vaccines were available, such double infections, or what infectious disease experts refer to as co-infections, seemed rare. For example, a spring 2020 study in New York City found that after around 1,200 Covid-19 patients were tested for other respiratory viruses, such as those that cause flu or the common cold, only 36 or less than 3 percent were infected at the same time. Last winter was also a remarkably subdued cold and flu season, with fewer people meeting and many wearing masks.

“We didn’t talk about it much because it wasn’t clinically challenging,” said Dr. Jonathan D. Grein, Infectious Disease Physician and Director of Hospital Epidemiology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. “We expect to see more co-infections as the flu spreads.” If it becomes a serious problem, experts expect a lot more about it in the months to come.

Co-infection does not immediately mean that a patient will become doubly ill. A strong immune response can actually help the body fight off all kinds of pathogens, so infection could provide additional protection.

“Infection in one could help boost your immune response in another,” said Dr. Grein, “because it activates the same immune response that will be effective in fighting both.”

Scientists don’t yet know for sure, however, as so few people have tested positive for both Covid-19 and influenza. But, judging by past trends, doctors aren’t too concerned.

“The majority of influenza sufferers are fine. The majority of people with Covid are fine, especially if they are vaccinated, “said Dr. Andrew D. Badley. a specialist in infectious diseases and Chairman of the SARS-CoV-2 Covid-19 Task Force at the Mayo Clinic. “It’s hard to predict,” he continued, “but we assume that the majority of people who are co-infected with the two viruses will get along well.”

But as Dr. Badley and other experts pointed out that having one infection is generally better than two. With two infections, there is a higher risk of complications and a greater burden on the body.

“The human immune system can produce antibodies against several pathogens at the same time,” said Dr. Andrew Noymer, Epidemiologist and Associate Professor of Population Health and Disease Prevention at the University of California, Irvine, studying influenza.

“But if I had the choice of getting infected with one or two, I would always go for one,” he continued, adding, “I can’t tell you that two are that much worse than one, but I can the fewer viral threats, the better. ”

Dr. Omer, who is also a professor of infectious diseases and epidemiology at Yale, identified two groups that he believes may be the most susceptible to co-infection.

First: unvaccinated adults. “Based on previous work on vaccination, people who refuse one vaccine may refuse others,” he said. He said he expected there will be “significant overlap between people who oppose both vaccines”.

Second: Children, especially under 5, who are too young to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Children, as any parent will tell you, are petri dishes too, and have had fewer flu cycles. Even if a child got a flu shot, Dr. Omer, “your protection against the many viral strains of flu that can emerge each year is limited”.

Experts agreed that a patient who is already susceptible to a serious illness from one illness can suffer even more with a double infection.

“It is likely that those who would have had a bad result with the flu will have a very bad result from the combination of the flu and Covid,” said Dr. Badley.

Pediatricians were optimistic that “Flurona” would not overwhelm most children. This is because children are more likely than adults to get multiple infections at the same time.

“For most of the people who work in pediatrics, this is not surprising,” said Dr. Frank Esper, an infectious disease doctor at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. “We see co-infections all the time.”

“Co-infections with the coronavirus are to be expected,” continued Dr. Esper away. “I don’t find it worrying.” His research team found that co-infections with a variety of respiratory viruses are more common in children than adults. Other previous studies also suggest that getting infected with two viruses at the same time doesn’t make a child sicker, he said.

Dr. Aaron M. Milstone, professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was cautiously optimistic. Just because a child has two viruses doesn’t mean the immune response is twice as aggressive or causing twice as many symptoms.

“Since the viruses circulate together, it is very reassuring – especially for parents – that not many children were hospitalized with severe co-infections,” said Dr. Milstone. He added, “We don’t suddenly see more children in intensive care.”

First of all, don’t panic. It can be especially stressful, but that doesn’t mean you will get any more sick. It’s also possible that you’ve already had a virus and recovered from it, but it still shows up in your test results.

If your symptoms are severe or you have difficulty breathing, call your doctor. Doctors said they would likely treat a patient who had both infections similarly to how they would treat someone who only had one. Experts do not believe that the treatments will work against each other or cause problems in the patient’s body.

“The decision to treat Covid depends on how sick you are,” said Dr. Badley. “That wouldn’t change if you had the flu at the same time. What could change is that you may also be receiving anti-influenza therapies. “

In this regard, the medical advice remains consistent: get vaccinated against both Covid and flu. And get vaccinated right away.

Both children and adults can receive both vaccines at the same time. Children from the age of 5 are entitled to a Covid-19 vaccination, children from 6 months can be vaccinated against the flu.

“We’ve been giving multiple vaccines at the same time for decades,” said Dr. Badley with no ill effects. “The side effects are the same” when given together, “and the side effects are very, very minor with both vaccines.”

Additionally, experts agree that you should wear masks and maintain social distancing measures when necessary. Both the flu and coronavirus are airborne viruses, so limiting your exposure will reduce your risk of contagion.

“If you don’t get the coronavirus and you don’t want to get the flu,” said Dr. Esper, “The best you can do is do basically everything you did last year.”

Source link


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

Related Posts

Enter our 

Las Vegas!

Luxury Resort Stay Giveaway