Earlier this week, the medical community was shocked when it was revealed that an unvaccinated pregnant woman in Israel had tested positive for both coronavirus and the ordinary flu at the same time. The revelation prompted the coining of a new term in the COVID-19 lexicon: “Flurona.”
On Wednesday, the first recorded case of flurona in the United States since the name first became famous occurred when an unvaccinated adolescent in Los Angeles tested positive for both COVID and the flu, thereby establishing flurona’s presence in the country for the first time.
However, there had been previously recorded cases of flurona prior to that time period.
What exactly is flurona?
It is used to describe patients who have contracted both COVID-19 and the common flu at the same time, or in close proximity to one another.
Neither the disease nor the combination of the two infections is known as flurona; rather, it is the term used to describe the situation in which a patient acquires both viruses at the same time.
While the word is new, the larger-scale confluence of both respiratory illnesses among the general population of the United States has been occurring for several years now.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, health experts have expressed concern about the likelihood of a “twindemic,” a scenario in which a spike in COVID-19 cases coincides with a particularly severe flu season, causing the country’s medical systems to become overwhelmed.
According to The Atlantic, cases of Americans testing positive for both COVID-19 and the flu have been documented as early as February of 2020, with the flu being the most common.
What is the cause of the flurona outbreak right now?
Flurona had been observed in various locations throughout the world in recent weeks, including Israel, Brazil, the Philippines, and Hungary, even before the term “flurona” became popular.
Other cases of persons who tested positive for both the flu and COVID at the same time have been documented in the United States, including in Houston and South Florida, among others.
Of the opinion of health experts, the emergence of flurona cases may be linked to a large increase in Omicron cases, which presently account for 95 percent of all COVID infections in the country.
Omicron’s rapid growth — the country is averaging more than 585,000 new reported illnesses daily, a 254 percent rise from two weeks earlier — comes at a time when the flu season is in full swing in the United States and around the world.
Although the flu season in 2018 was the least harmful in more than a decade, experts warned Fortune in October that the flu’s resurgence in the new year could be severe, in part because fewer cases during the 2020–21 flu season resulted in “a reduced population immunity,” which makes the general public even more vulnerable to the flu this year than they were last year.
While it is too soon to tell whether those experts were correct, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported an increase in common flu cases in the United States compared to the previous year, with the majority of cases occurring among young adults and children.
In conjunction with an increase in Omicron, this revival implies the possibility of a rise in the number of flurona cases in the future.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Coughing, runny nose, sore throat, fever, headache, and weariness are all symptoms of the ordinary flu, as well as COVID-19, which has long had comparable symptoms.
According to the World Health Organization, people can experience varying degrees of disease from either COVID-19 or influenza, ranging from no symptoms at all to severe and sometimes lethal reactions.
So far, there is little information available about the exact symptoms experienced by flurona patients. Symptoms of both illnesses were reported by a youngster in Los Angeles who tested positive for both illnesses.
In Israel, the unvaccinated pregnant woman was reported to be “extremely unwell,” though she has now recovered and returned to normalcy.
While experts agree that catching both COVID and the flu at the same time has the potential to cause a more severe reaction, they also note that the severity of the illness varies from patient to patient and is heavily dependent on an individual’s immune system and, perhaps most importantly, whether or not they have been immunized against both diseases.
What can I do to avoid it?
Vaccination and booster vaccination against COVID are recommended by health experts and public health officials, as doing so reduces the likelihood of a severe reaction.
And, as the number of people who acquire the common flu continues to rise, physicians stress the necessity of receiving a flu shot every year as a preventative measure.
In addition, public health professionals emphasize that wearing a mask in public places and continuing to adhere to social distancing guidelines are critical to avoiding the transmission of either disease to others.