“Flurona” is an informal term that refers to dual infection with the flu virus and the coronavirus. In January 2022, an unvaccinated pregnant woman in Israel was reportedly diagnosed with the first case of flurona.
Both the flu and COVID-19 are viral respiratory illnesses, and co-infection with the influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 could lead to more severe disease, especially in the elderly and immunocompromised. Available data does not provide clear information as to how serious co-infection may be, but the risks cannot be ignored as the flu season begins the COVID-19 variant Omicron continues to spread at an alarming rate.
What are the symptoms of flurona?
Symptoms of flurona, flu, and COVID-19 are difficult to differentiate. Respiratory infections generally present with the following symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle aches
- Feeling unwell
- Trouble breathing
- Loss of taste
- Loss of smell
If you notice symptoms or have been exposed to infection, contact your doctor so that appropriate treatment may be provided. Isolate yourself to prevent the spread of infection to others.
Is flurona a new variant of SARS-CoV-2?
Flurona is not a new variant of SARS-CoV-2.
A new variant of a virus occurs when a virus mutates, which can change its infectivity or pathogenicity (ability to cause disease). Many times, mutations do not affect either infectivity or pathogenicity of a virus.
Omicron is the latest COVID-19 variant, which spreads faster than the original SARS-CoV-2 and Delta strains. However, it is unknown whether Omicron is more infectious that the Delta variant or causes more severe illness.
According to present data, the available vaccines can protect against the Omicron variant at least partially by reducing the likelihood of infection and severity of illness if infection does occur. This is especially important in the elderly and those with lung diseases and compromised immunity. Although breakthrough infections can occur in fully vaccinated people, the likelihood of hospitalization and serious disease is quite lower than in unvaccinated people.
How can you protect yourself from flurona?
Flu and COVID-19 vaccines can protect against flurona, or flu and COVID-19 co-infection. Available vaccines are safe and effective against both viral infections. You should also get your booster shots whenever you are eligible to reduce your likelihood of severe illness.
In addition to getting vaccinated, practice social distancing, follow respiratory and hand hygiene, avoid crowded places, and wear properly fitting masks.
Consult your physician regarding the flu vaccine most suitable for your health condition.
|Quadrivalent cell-based influenza shot||Flucelvax Quadrivalent||Injectable||Ages 4 and older|
|Recombinant quadrivalent influenza shot||
|Injectable||Ages 18 and older|
|Quadrivalent flu shot using an adjuvant||Fluad Quadrivalent||Injectable||Ages 65 and older (elicits a stronger immune response)|
|Quadrivalent high-dose influenza vaccine||Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent||Injectable||
Ages 65 and older (contains a higher dose of antigen for better immune response)
|Live attenuated influenza vaccine||FluMist Quadrivalent||Intranasal||
Ages 2-49Contraindicated in those who are pregnant, immunocompromised, have a history of reaction to the vaccine, aged over 50, and have conditions that may cause cerebrospinal fluid leaks
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