Am I in more danger if I get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time this winter?
COVID-19 Influenza flu

Am I in more danger if I get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time this winter?

Santhni Subramaniam
Santhni Subramaniam

In 10 seconds? Research shows that flu and SARS-CoV-2 co-infection increases the risk of death by almost 6%. But the study has also found that if someone catches the flu first, they are less likely to catch COVID-19.

What do the numbers say about the risk? At the time of writing, the world was more concerned with the newly emerged Omicron virus variant. However, health experts have been vary for a while of a dual  flu and COVID-19 epidemic. For this study, researchers first collected various data from influenza tests conducted between January and June 2020 in England. They then analyzed the  data for the time frame when COVID-19 infection was also reported. Out of over 19 000 individuals, 58 had a co-infection with COVID-19. Although the prevalence was low, the risk of death for patients with the flu and COVID-19 was 6 times higher than for patients without any of those infections. Interestingly, the chances of getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 were 58% lower among individuals who had already caught the flu. A separate laboratory study has also shown that immunity from influenza protected patients from COVID-19 but not the other way around.

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