You may have seen the term “flurona” popping up recently. ‘Flurona’ describes a situation when someone has both COVID-19 and influenza at the same. Despite what the name suggests, the two viruses have not merged themselves.
It isn’t exactly uncommon for a person to be infected with two or more disease-causing organisms at one time – this is known as a co-infection.
Symptoms of Flurona
Influenza and COVID-19 have similar symptoms. This is because both cause respiratory infections and are transmitted by droplets from our mouths and noses – through breathing, coughing and sneezing. They also both tend to infect the cells lining the upper and lower respiratory tract and can cause a wide spectrum of illness. This ranges from asymptomatic or mild infections through to severe disease or death.
Common symptoms of Flurona experienced by patients are fever (89.4% of cases), cough (79.3%), shortness of breath (24.1%), muscle aches and pain (20.7%) and difficult or laboured breathing (20.7%) [based on studies reviewed by Masoud Dadashi at Alborz University of Medical Sciences in Karaj, Iran].
However, these symptoms are commonly experienced by either of the viruses on their own, which causes difficulty around identifying this co-infection.
How serious is Flurona?
There is a chance that if you have the flu and then get COVID-19, it might be easier for COVID-19 to get in your body. This could then make the symptoms of COVID-19 worse.
However, there is currently no evidence to show this.
How common is Flurona?
It is difficult to find out how common this combination of viruses is. This is because it would only be identified in patients who have specifically been tested for both viruses.
However, it can and has occurred and has been identified in numerous countries to date. These co-infections are likely to occur more and more in countries like New Zealand, as the southern hemisphere moves into winter and this the flu season. This is made worse by the fact that influenza is expected to have an increased spread compared to previous years as people start mixing more socially.
Common disease prevention measures, recently made more commonplace by COVID-19, are effective in preventing co-infections like ‘Flurona’. Frequent handwashing and sanitising, wearing a facemask and social distancing all help, as COVID-19 and Influenza are spread by being in close contact with an infected person and/or breathing the same air as them.
Vaccination is also an important tool in preventing both COVID-19 and Influenza, so should be used as an important tool for preventing Flurona.
For any more information, contact your GP