‘Flurona’ in SC: Upstate doctor confirms co-infection of influenza, COVID-19

Local News

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – While the name “Flurona” may seem like a myth, medical professionals say it’s very real.

“Flurona” is a term coined for a co-infection of both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time. It is has been confirmed in test results around the world and now in the Upstate in 2022. According to doctors, this comes as no surprise.

“It is certainly not unexpected. We clearly expected people during the flu season and during the height of yet another surge of COVID cases, that someone would eventually come down with both flu and COVID,” said Dr. Chris Lombardozzi, Chief Medical Officer at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

“We have been relatively fortunate that this is the first one that I have heard about in our area and, to the best of my knowledge, that person is not hospitalized, just at home.” 

Spartanburg County resident Alisha Johnson shared the news of her recent test results with us.

“I was shocked. Having the flu and corona, I thought the worst,” explained Johnson. “They did two swabs. They tested the left nostril for flu and they tested the right nostril for COVID. They immediately told me I had flu-B and DHEC also called me and confirmed me that I did have COVID as well.” 

She said her tell-tale sign that she was under the weather, was body aches and congestion. Two common symptoms of both the flu and coronavirus.

“It was just like the normal flu for me from what I have had in the past. I can’t pinpoint anything extra,” said Johnson.

According to Johnson, she is fully-vaccinated and said this was the first time she tested positive for COVID-19.

“I believe I had a mild case and I am not sure if it’s because I am vaccinated,” Johnson said.

She told 7NEWS she originally thought it was a minor cold, but with her mother in the hospital, she wanted to be sure for both of their safety.

Now, one week after her positive test results, Johnson says she is feeling much better.

“Right now I just have a little congestion. Everything else has been good,” she said.

According to medical professionals, dual-illnesses are not uncommon. Because COVID-19 and the flu are rapidly spreading the in community, doctors say the infections can occur at the same time. Yet, often times, it will go unnoticed.

“I think it brings up an opportunity and the opportunity is to once again say ‘what can we do to protect ourselves?’ The key there remains the same,” said Dr. Lombardozzi. “It’s flu season, just like any other flu season. So, get your shots. Get your flu shots. Go ahead and wear masks in the appropriate settings. Obviously when we are talking about COVID, it’s the same, same story.”

As far as how to overcome the illnesses, according to professionals, the best way remains through both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines.

“There are some medications that can help you feel a little bit better, but there is no cure for the flu. When we talk about COVID though, things are getting better in terms of options,” said Dr. Lombardozzi. “It is still really, really beneficial if you really want to protect yourself, the best protection is still to get a vaccine.” 

“We need to take it seriously and we need to do the things that we can do right now to help protect ourselves.” 

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