FLU + CORONA = FLORONA!
Amid this omicron wave, another new report from Israel comes confirming “double infection with influenza and covid-19 and is coined as “florona”. Israel’s healthcare system has already started administering 4th dose of vaccine to immunocompromised people as they are witnessing an influenza outbreak as well. A case has been reported from Israel where a pregnant lady was hospitalized for delivery and she was not vaccinated for influenza and covid-19. She was the first reported case of double infection with influenza and covid-19.
Medical experts are saying that this is happening due to weakening or breakdown of the body’s immunity when both covid-19 and influenza virus hit you at the same time! This is a new development, but whether it should be of concern or not is yet to be decided.
What is florona?
As per WHO (world health organization), it’s possible for you to have both diseases at the same time. Both the viruses i.e, INFLUENZA virus and SARS COV-2 enter our body through the same routes. Viruses spread through respiratory droplets(large or small particles which contain a virus) and or aerosol as they are released while we are talking, sneezing, or coughing and then enter the body through the mouth nose, or rarely eyes. Both viruses primarily affect the respiratory system.
Florona is NOT a new variant of covid-19! It is the combination of two infections hitting the immune system at the same time.
Is florona dangerous?
Although it will be too early to comment upon the severity florona is definitely a new concern, and here is why-
- As it can spread faster so, there are chances that it can make the disease severity.
- Simultaneous entry of both the viruses can severely compromise our immune system which can lead to some new diseases as well.
- As both the infections are hitting the same organ, i.e. lungs, together they can lead to many serious complications like ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), severe pneumonia, heart attacks, and even strokes.
- As the world is already under attack by Omicron, this double infection can increase the number of hospitalization and can seriously burden the healthcare system.
- A person suffering from flu might even have a simultaneous covid-19 infection(as it takes longer to become symptomatic), and if precautions are not taken others can also get affected by both the viruses.
How to know if you have flu or corona or florona?
On average flu takes 3-4 days to be symptomatic, but covid-19 infection takes 2-14 days to be symptomatic. Both have common symptoms like cold, cough, runny nose, fever, etc. it detected only after sampling has been done for viral RNA detection or genome sequencing.
Another dual infection- ‘delmicron’
The combination of Delta and Omicron variants of covid 19 is believed to be responsible for the sudden rise of covid infections in the united states (US) and Europe. Medical experts have already raised the alarm for the possibility of both strains swiping genes and emerging of new more dangerous variants.
What is twindemic?
This dual infection is not an unexpected thing. Health experts have in their mind that if there are fewer restrictions or when social distancing and other precautionary measures are not followed, it can lead to faster circulation of pathogens among people. And one specific concern has been the “twindemic” of dual infection of influenza and covid-19.
Experts say that “twindemic” has never happened in the covid era because of social distancing, mask, and regular and timely screening. Not only influenza but other diseases which have a seasonal epidemic pattern like dengue, malaria, chikungunya CTC can be a challenge for diagnosis and management of coexisting covid-19 infection.”
What you can do to protect yourself from dual infection- “florona”?
Although according to experts all age groups are susceptible to contract “florona”, people who are older or who have comorbidities, pregnant women, and healthcare workers are at higher risk.
As per WHO most effective way to protect yourself from florona is to get vaccinated. Despite the similarity in their course of action or spread, the vaccine against covid-19 will not protect you from influenza and vice-versa. And it should be administered as a priority to people who have high risk. Other things you must follow are –
- Wear mask
- Maintain social distancing
- Avoid crowded places
- Have proper ventilation around you
- Clean or wash your hands frequently
- Do not touch your eyes nose or mouth with non-sanitized hands.
- Get vaccinated for both influenza and covid-19.
Do not panic. Florona is not a new variant. You can avoid the infection by simply following the precautions. And in case of infection happens mild cases can be treated at home according to experts.