Flurona: COVID-19 and the flu can infect you at the same time

Published: January 5, 2022 5:55 PM EST
Updated: January 6, 2022 5:18 PM EST

You can call it the perfect storm of viral infections.

A few cases are showing up of people being co-infected with both the flu and COVID-19.

They call it: flurona.

It means having coronavirus and the flu at the same time.

The first cast showed up in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Recent flu seasons have been mild due to masking and social distancing but as people move around more infections are starting to spread.

“They are two totally different viruses. And that sometimes is confusing for people. So it is possible to get COVID-19 and the flu virus at the same time,” said Bob Hawkes, director of the Florida Gulf Coast University Physician’s Assistant Program. “We’re coming into what is typically normally the flu season, which we typically see it peeking in January and February and then decreasing as we’re getting into the springtime. So people certainly need to be extra cautious.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 and flu overlap. Both can bring fever, chills or sore throat.

But omicron comes with a headache, Hawkes said.

“That’s something different than the Omicron variant tends to be showing that the normal influenza variant, or the influenza virus does not necessarily show,” he said. 

The message that should go viral: isolate if you’re sick and get vaccinated.

“Both COVID-19 and the influenza do have their own vaccine. And it is important that people not only get the COVID vaccine that we’ve been talking so much about, but also the annual influenza vaccine,” Hawkes said.