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You may have seen headlines about “flurona,” a buzzy term that’s been used to describe what happens when a patient is infected with COVID-19 and the seasonal flu simultaneously.
But scary as it sounds, Dr. Lucy McBride — a physician in Washington, D.C., who is also a Yahoo News medical contributor — says there’s little cause for alarm. Here’s what you should know about flurona as COVID cases continue to spike across the U.S.
Yahoo News: What does the term “flurona” mean?
Dr. Lucy McBride: So "flurona" is not even a medical term, but I think what people are referring to is someone who's infected with coronavirus and influenza at the same time. It is not a new variant of the coronavirus. In fact, it's not new at all that people can get coinfected with two viruses at the same time — in this case, coronavirus and influenza.
How common are coinfections of the flu and the coronavirus?
It's pretty uncommon to get two viruses at the same time. It's like lightning striking twice, but of course, anything is possible.
Is it possible for the flu virus and COVID-19 to combine into one virus?
It's certainly possible that coronavirus and flu could mix, but it hasn't happened yet. We are seeing, however, some people get infected with both viruses. The key is to get vaccinated against both.
Is it particularly dangerous to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?
It's absolutely not ideal to have either coronavirus or influenza, and certainly having both together is not good. But again, I'll tell my patients what I'm telling you, which is to get vaccinated against both viruses.
Can you receive the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccination or booster at the same time?
You can absolutely get the COVID shot and the flu shot on the same day.
What are some of the symptoms of a coinfection of the flu and the coronavirus?
What's interesting is that influenza and the coronavirus have many of the same presenting symptoms: sore throat, body aches, fever, fatigue. If you have any of those symptoms, or if you have been exposed to somebody with those symptoms, talk to your doctor and get a test if you're symptomatic.