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COVID and Flu (Flurona)

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COVID and Flu (Flurona)

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The combination of both COVID and Flu (Flurona) is more prevalent than the omicron variant. Read the article below to know the facts about Flurona.

Written by

Dr. Preetha. J

Medically reviewed by

Dr. N. Ashok Viswanath

Published At January 13, 2022
Reviewed AtJanuary 3, 2024

What Is COVID-19?

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes a rapidly spreading coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It originated from the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019 and has become a public health emergency that has formed to be a global pandemic.

What Is Influenza (Flu)?

Influenza is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus that affects the respiratory system, such as the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe symptoms and sometimes may lead to death. It is a highly contagious respiratory illness.

What Are the Types of Influenza?

  1. Influenza A: It infects mammals such as humans and pigs.

  2. Influenza B: It infects humans.

  3. Influenza C: It infects humans.

  4. Influenza D: It infects cattle and pigs.

How Is an Influenza Infection Transmitted to Humans?

Influenza viruses are usually transmitted via the respiratory droplets delivered while coughing and sneezing. Transmission can also occur through aerosols, objects, and surfaces contaminated by the virus.

What Are the Symptoms of Influenza?

The symptoms of Influenza usually start within 1–2 days or 3-4 days after exposure to the virus and last for about 2–8 days. The symptoms may include:

What Are the Complications of Influenza?

Influenza, when left untreated, may lead to complications such as

  • Meningitis.

  • Sinus infection.

  • Pneumonia.

  • Ear infection.

  • Myocarditis.

  • Encephalitis.

  • Myositis.

  • Kidney failure.

  • Acute respiratory distress.

  • Asthma.

  • Cardiovascular disease.

  • Pneumonia.

  • Multi-organ failure.

Who Is at a Higher Risk of Acquiring the Influenza Virus?

Influenza can occur in people of any age group, even healthy people can be affected.

The below categorized people are at a higher risk:

  • People who are aged 65 years and older.

  • People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, heart disease, or diabetes.

  • Pregnant women.

  • Children who are younger than five years.

  • People with chronic kidney disease.

  • Liver disorders.

  • People who are obese.

  • People on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.

  • People with a history of stroke.

  • People with a weakened immune system.

  • People who are hospitalized.

  • People infected with HIV/AIDS (Human immunodeficiency virus or Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

  • People with cancer.

How to Prevent Influenza?

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent influenza and influenza-associated complications, especially for people at higher risk of acquiring Influenza.

Two types of viruses given for vaccination against Influenza infection are:

  1. Inactivated (killed) virus.

  2. Live attenuated (weakened) viruses.

The inactivated viruses are given through intramuscular injection, and the live attenuated viruses are sprayed into the nasal cavity.

The vaccines provided are:

  • H1N1 strain.

  • H3N2 strain.

  • One or two IBV (Influenza B virus) strains correspond to the two IBV lineages (B/Victoria and B/Yamagata).

What Is Flurona?

Flurona is the co-infection of both the flu and COVID (Coronavirus Disease 2019). This term might be new to most people, but this case of Flurona has already been reported in a few people at the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak. Since the symptoms of both the viruses are quite similar, it is the reason for it to go undetected. Both the Influenza and Coronavirus viruses are potentially lethal, their combination could be quite harmful. When you have Flurona, both the flu and Coronavirus will not outcompete each other to protect you from either disease. But they will utilize a different receptor in the body, and those affected will simultaneously experience the symptoms of both the flu and COVID-19 infection.

As hospitalizations due to flu are increasing, the twindemic of COVID-19 (likely omicron variant) and flu cases are peaking simultaneously. The confirmed cases of Flurona have popped up in Israel, the United States, Brazil, and elsewhere. Scientists in Israel have reported the first case of a person infected with COVID-19 and Influenza. As a result, coined the term Flurona.

The case has been reported in an unvaccinated young woman with mild symptoms admitted to a hospital in Israel. Israel's health ministry is investigating this unusual case to confirm that the combination of these two viruses does not cause a more severe infection.

Texas Children's Hospital has also announced that a child is confirmed with influenza A and SARS-CoV-2 infection. The hospital said that the child was not hospitalized and is recovering at home.

How Common Is Flurona?

Co-infections with the flu are rarer than other viruses, but there are still rising cases of flurona. Scientists have reported that the co-infection rate is much higher in Asia, where 4.5 percent of COVID-positive patients get sick with Influenza at the same time. Cold viruses will commonly show co-infection cases, whereas co-infections with Influenza are less common. Specific pathogens will not link with other pathogens, and one among them is the influenza virus. When the body gets infected with the flu virus, it will start flooding the whole system with a lot of immune components that prevent viral infection, making it harder for other pathogens to enter the body and cause illness.

What Are the Symptoms of Flurona?

Specialists say that it can be difficult to distinguish the symptoms of both the flu and COVID-19. Depending on the individual, infections can vary from mild to severe.

The possible symptoms in people with Flurona are:

  1. Fever.

  2. Shortness of breath.

  3. Headache.

  4. Change in taste or smell.

  5. Cough.

  6. Body aches.

  7. Sore throat.

  8. Runny nose or stuffy nose.

  9. Fatigue.

  10. Vomiting and diarrhea.

These symptoms are common for both Influenza and COVID viruses. Since the symptoms of flu, Coronavirus, and other respiratory illnesses are similar, these diseases cannot be determined or concluded with the symptoms. Therefore, testing is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

The only difference between the flu and COVID is that the patient infected with COVID will take time to become symptomatic. But patients with both the flu and COVID will become symptomatic very soon.

Difference between Flu and COVID:

Difference between Flu and COVID

How to Diagnose Flurona?

It is impossible to know on your own whether you have flurona or not, even the doctors may find it difficult to tell without testing you for both illnesses. Therefore, if you have symptoms of either COVID-19 or the flu, the golden standard is to undergo testing for both Influenza and COVID-19 to get the appropriate treatment. If the patient is immunocompromised (high-risk individuals), they must get tested to start early treatment options.

How to Manage Flurona?

There is no specific treatment for flurona. Normally, the first line of treatment is supportive care, which includes rest, hydration, and over-the-counter pain relievers. Doctors may opt to treat high-risk patients with an antiviral for influenza strains if reported within 48 hours after developing symptoms. COVID antivirals are also utilized under emergency use approval. Prescribing both antivirals simultaneously can sometimes cause drug interactions. It is best to stay home if someone has mild symptoms to prevent further spread.

How to Prevent Flurona?

Both the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations are recommended to prevent acquiring the disease. The chance of contracting flurona is higher for those unvaccinated for both viruses. To protect from both of these respiratory pathogens (Flurona) follow the below instructions:

  • Wear a mask.

  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces (social distancing).

  • Get vaccinated whenever possible.

  • Keep hands clean by washing either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

  • Avoiding close contact with sick people.

  • Cover the face while coughing or sneezing with a tissue, then safely throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Cleaning the frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.

Conclusion:

Protection against both viruses is gained by vaccination. The main reason why co-infection is not discussed before is that the recommendations for isolation and recovery are the same for both infections. Getting the two infections simultaneously is not new, nor is it a new type of virus. They are two separate viruses that will show up on any test looking for either. But they have not somehow mutated into a single pathogen.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

What Is the Meaning Of Flurona?

The phrase "flurona" was created by the Israeli Outbreak Management Advisory Team towards the end of 2020 to refer to the possibility of getting both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. On January 5, 2022, a young person who had not received vaccinations in Los Angeles was diagnosed with flurona.

2.

Does a Variant Called “Deltacron” Exist?

Reports about a highly contagious strain that merged Delta and Omicron varieties quickly circulated. However, scientists have confirmed that it was not real and that the genetic codes may have been due to pollution.

3.

Can Someone Be Affected by COVID and the Flu?

Yes, a person can be simultaneously infected with COVID-19 and the flu (influenza) because both viruses can cause respiratory illness. This condition is sometimes called "co-infection.

4.

Does Florona Represent a New Type of Variant?

It's important to remember that Florona is not a new strain but rather a co-infection of COVID-19 and influenza.

5.

What Is the Duration of Flu?

The flu usually lasts for a period of 4 to 7 days, during which most symptoms subside. However, it is possible to experience lingering fatigue and cough for several weeks, and occasionally the fever may return. In some cases, loss of appetite may also be present.

6.

Is It Possible to Have Flu Without a Fever?

Many individuals who have contracted the influenza virus may not exhibit a fever, particularly those who are elderly or have weakened immune systems.

7.

What Is the Most Potent Medication for the Flu?

Prescription antiviral medications for the flu, such as Tamiflu (oseltamivir), Xofluza (baloxavir marboxil), Rapivab (peramivir), and Relenza (zanamivir), can help to reduce the duration of the illness. In contrast, over-the-counter medications are typically aimed at managing flu symptoms.

8.

What Are Some Natural Remedies That Can Help Treat the Flu?

Some natural remedies that may help alleviate flu symptoms include staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest, using a humidifier or steam to ease congestion, drinking hot liquids like tea with honey and lemon, and taking supplements like vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea.

9.

How to Identify A Flurona?

As flurona is not a specific virus, it cannot be identified directly. Rather, it is a term used to describe the possibility of having both COVID-19 and the flu simultaneously. If someone is experiencing symptoms that are consistent with the flu or COVID-19, it is important to seek medical attention and get tested for both viruses. A healthcare professional can diagnose the presence of both viruses through testing, which can involve a swab or blood sample.

10.

In What Ways Does Omicron Spread?

Omicron is primarily spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. The virus can also spread through close contact with an infected person or by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

11.

In what ways does Omicron differ from other variants?

The Omicron variant differs from other COVID-19 variants in several ways. It appears to be more transmissible than earlier variants, such as Delta, and individuals infected with Omicron may be able to transmit the virus to others even if they are vaccinated or asymptomatic. Moreover, studies suggest that Omicron may be able to cause reinfection even in individuals who have already recovered from COVID-19.

12.

What Is the Duration of COVID?

Individuals severely affected by COVID-19 may remain contagious for more than ten days and may need to continue isolating for up to 20 days. For those with moderate to severe immunocompromised conditions, isolation may need to be extended through at least day 20.

13.

How Fast Do Omicron Symptoms Appear After Exposure?

The period between exposure to the virus and the onset of symptoms called the incubation period, is believed to be anywhere from two to 14 days. Early variants typically caused symptoms within five days, while the Delta variant caused symptoms within four days. The Omicron variant's incubation period seems even shorter, with symptoms showing up after only three days.

14.

Is Omicron Can Omicron Be Transmitted Through the Air?

The transmission of Omicron occurs primarily through respiratory droplets and close contact with an infected person. While the virus can spread through the air in some situations, it is not considered primarily airborne, like measles or tuberculosis.

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Dr. N. Ashok Viswanath
Dr. N. Ashok Viswanath

Infectious Diseases

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