In case the pandemic hasn’t given all of us enough to worry about, now there’s a new COVID-19 buzzword making the rounds—“flurona.” You’ve probably heard it, and although you won’t find it in Merriam Webster’s dictionary, as the name suggests, flurona is the colorful term used to describe the simultaneous infection of the flu and COVID-19. But don’t panic, there’s some really good news behind an otherwise scary word: flurona sounds a lot worse than it is. Yes, it is not only possible to contract the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, but it’s actually becoming pretty common now that we’re in peak flu season—but the data collected by health experts so far seems to confirm that people don’t get doubly sick. And that’s a win.
To help keep you in the know, here’s everything we know so far about flurona.
We’ve seen it before
Conceptually flurona isn’t new—having more than one virus at the same time is not uncommon. But flurona will most likely be more common this year than last year. Why? In short, it’s due to two main factors. One, the highly contagious Omicron variant that is currently—and very rapidly—spreading all across the world, causing record high rates of infection. Two, we’re in the height of flu season, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fewer people are getting the flu shot this year than in previous years. That’s a recipe for flurona.
But there is reason for optimism. While getting the flu is bad, and obviously so too is getting coronavirus, putting them together doesn’t necessarily mean a worse experience or outcome. Rather, so far, flurona doesn’t seem to cause any unique symptoms, and while having both viruses may cause a longer period of illness, you’re still looking at the same fever, coughing, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose and muscle aches you’ve been hearing about.
While getting a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine is no guarantee to prevent flurona, it is the best way to prevent hospitalization and severe illness. So get vaccinated for both viruses, and especially if you’re pregnant, an older adult, or have a compromised immune system.
Other great ways to protect against the spread of flurona are to regularly get tested, always wear a mask in public indoor settings and areas of substantial or high community transmission, and continue to practice social distancing—regardless of your vaccination status.
Ready to get your COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot, but aren’t sure where your closest community pharmacy is located? Just check out our directory!