FORTUNE – Catching both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time more than doubles the risk of death, a new study published by the Lancet has found.
The study looked at more than 200 patients infected with both SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—and the influenza virus.
It found patients with co-infection were four times more likely to require ventilation and 2.4 times more likely to die than if they only had COVID-19.
The study’s researchers advised COVID-19 patients to be routinely tested for the flu, as both the influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 damage epithelial cells and cause inflammation, which together can have fatal consequences.
Professor Kenneth Baillie of Edinburgh University said in the Guardian:
“We expect that COVID-19 will circulate with flu, increasing the chance of co-infections. That is why we should change our testing strategy for COVID-19 patients in hospital and test for flu much more widely.”
The study was led by researchers at Edinburgh University, Liverpool University, Imperial College London and Leiden University in the Netherlands, and looked at more than 212,000 patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 between February 2020 and December 2021.
It found a total of 583 patients who had co-infection of COVID-19 with another respiratory virus.
Of the 583 patients, the 227 who specifically had the influenza virus suffered from significantly more severe outcomes, the study found.
Researchers advise people to get fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 and be jabbed with the annual flu shot … read more.
What is ‘flurona’ and why a Mayo Clinic expert says flu cases are rising
January 12, 2022
MAYO CLINIC NEWS NETWORK – Flu cases are starting to rise across parts of the U.S. And that’s concerning because fewer people are vaccinated for flu, compared to last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
With the COVID-19 omicron variant also spreading, Dr. Stephen McMullan, a Mayo Clinic family medicine physician, explains what a coinfection of the flu and COVID-19 dubbed “flurona” means.
“Coinfection is rare with COVID-19 and the flu, or COVID-19 and other types of infections that you might get as far as upper respiratory infections because COVID-19 tends to take over,” says Dr. McMullan. “Once COVID-19 is in your body, it’s going to be the predominant virus, but there are some rare cases where we have seen people getting both COVID-19 and the flu. So it is possible, but it’s certainly not common.”
Historic activity for areas with rising cases ― the eastern and central parts of the U.S. as of the first week of 2022 ― show flu typically peaks in late January and February. As to why flu is surging earlier, Dr. McMullan explains that several factors could be the cause.
“We’re all a little bit more back together than we were a year ago,” says Dr. McMullan. “The kids are back in school, and we have more events that people are attending, which could explain why we’re seeing flu cases rise.”
The CDC lists the dominant strain of flu this season as H3N2, which the current vaccine is formulated to protect against. However, nearly 20 million fewer doses have been given by the start of 2022, compared to one year earlier.
When it comes to recognizing symptoms, Dr. McMullan says COVID-19 and flu are similar. He recommends testing to determine the exact illness and appropriate course of action.
“Nasal congestion; coughing; maybe a sore throat; and difficulty breathing or catching your breath, especially with exertion, can be symptoms of the flu,” says Dr. McMullan. “More commonly, what we see are fevers and body aches, specifically muscle aches may be more indicative of the flu itself, rather than other upper respiratory viruses or even COVID-19.”
If you do contract the flu, Dr. McMullan recommends isolating from those in your household to prevent further spread, and he says that most people will be able to self-treat with symptomatic medications such as anti-inflammatory, cough suppressant and fever-reducing medications. For questions or if a case becomes severe, contact your health care provider.
Dr. McMullan says it’s possible to stay safe from COVID-19 and flu.
“Get vaccinated against COVID-19, including your booster if eligible, and make sure to get your flu vaccine,” says Dr. McMullan. “Continue to do the same strategies to protect yourself and others, such as wearing a mask in high-risk situations, washing your hands and staying home if you feel ill.”
Those who are eligible can get vaccinated for flu and COVID-19 at the same time. It’s also possible to get vaccinated for flu and receive a COVID-19 booster vaccination at the same time. Source