So-called 'flurona,' people experiencing both flu and coronavirus, could make a comeback

COVID and Flu vaccine
Posted at 3:34 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 06:47:44-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing at the start of the new year, there are more flu cases being reported compared to last year.

"We’ll see more cases going forward of people that have both flu and coronavirus," Vanderbilt ICU director Dr. Todd Rice said.

Some have started to call it 'flurona'

"The flu is a lot more of the body aches, and coronavirus especially the omicron, has more GI symptoms, so nausea feeling, sick to your stomach, maybe a little diarrhea, but in general, there’s a lot of overlap in the symptoms and they’re pretty similar," Rice said.

In 2020, Dr. Rice said he treated several patients with both the flu and COVID-19.

"Both of them can give you shortness of breath, and problems breathing, and pains in your chest," Rice said.

The surge in new cases fueled by the omicron variant is throwing a wrench in things.

"Honestly, one of our biggest things right now is because so many people have coronavirus including a number of our employees, we are a little short on staff to take care even our normal regular of beds," Rice said.

They're also treating several people right now who are hospitalized with influenza.

"There are different strains of the flu, and if you have one you have some protection potentially against the other one, or we’re hearing with coronavirus, that maybe if you had delta, you might have some protection against omicron," Rice said.

He hopes people won't forget to get their booster and flu shot.

"We always beat this drum, both flu and coronavirus have a vaccine, so you can get vaccinated against both of them, and protect yourself," Rice said.

Dr. Rice said with the omicron variant, some people aren't losing their sense of taste and smell like with the delta variant. When in doubt, you can get tested for both the flu and COVID-19 at most local urgent cares.