Home / Science / Health /  Covid, Flu coinfection on rise: How fatal is it and what are the symptoms

With the onset of winter, the chances of contracting COVID and flu increase significantly. And, now World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that, there might be a rise in Covid-flu coinfection cases too.  Last week, WHO official Maria Van Kerkhove tweeted that there could be widespread circulation of COVID19 & flu (& other pathogens) this winter. But, she has specifically urged all not to use the term 'twindemic' to describe the disease are call it infection on infection.  Here's all that you need to about COVID and flu coinfection. 

What is co-infection?

When an individual contracts two or more pathogens together, it is termed co-infection. For example, if a person contracts COVID and influenza at the same, which leads to a flu infection then it can be termed as a co-infection.

What are the chances of getting COVID-flu co-infection?

Experts have warned that the chances of contracting both infections together is extremely high owing to several reasons - low vaccination, and more mingling between 

Van Kerkhove pointed out, With the world opening up, public health measures relaxed and vaccination rates not as high as we need them, we will see co-circulation of viruses like influenza and SARS-CoV-2, increased cases and increased burden…" 

Meanwhile, noting that this winter could be the first time we see the effects of both Covid and flu in full circulation, NHS director for vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said, “So it is vital that those most susceptible to serious illness from these viruses come forward for vaccines in order to protect themselves and those around them."

What are the symptoms of COVID, flu coinfection? 

With COVID-19, symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, headache, aches and pains, fatigue and gastrointestinal problems are most common. Loss of sense of smell and taste, shortness of breath, chest pain are also some of the infrequent symptoms.

As far as flu is concerned, one may record a similar range of symptoms as COVID including fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue (tiredness).

Some may even experience stomach-related illnesses including vomiting and diarrhea.

How can you avoid covid-flu coinfection? 

Several experts pointed out that one of the best ways to avoid coinfection is by getting vaccinated. 

As per experts, since a large population avoided the flu season in 2021 - thanks to the COVID measures - there could be lower levels of natural immunity to the H3N2 strain.

Apart from that, wearing well-fitted masks, maintaining social distance, keeping away from crowds and following good hand hygiene is key in preventing infections.


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