In the last few days, Floridians may have heard a word they didn’t know existed: "FluRona."
To be clear, FluRona is not a new strain of the Coronavirus — FluRona simply means someone tests positive for both the flu and COVID-19, at the same time.
What You Need To Know
- As COVID cases continue to increase, some doctors say they are seeing a new phenomenon: "FluRona"
- FluRona is when a person tests positive for COVID-19 and the flu at the same time
- Family pediatrician Dr. Mohammad Afzal said his practice saw its first FluRona case on Jan. 4, and has seen four others since then
According to family pediatrician Dr. Mohammad Afzal, his office is now testing for both viruses, depending on the symptoms, and positives have come back for a handful of patients.
Afzal administers COVID tests to families daily, and with the peak of flu season now here, it is no surprise to him to see FluRona.
“January 4th was the first day that we saw the first patient with FluRona,” Afzal said after reviewing his notes. “The other four patients that we have seen with the Flu A and COVID, they were sick. We started to taking care of their flu and other infections, but they were not sick enough that they have to be hospitalized.”
As thousands continue to get tested for the Coronavirus everyday, nearly two out of every three people will test negative in Orange County. However, if those people are showing symptoms similar to COVID then doctors recommend also getting a flu test.
According to Afzal the current symptoms he is seeing from patients who test positive with the omicron variant include stuffy nose, cough, body aches and sore throat.
Symptoms he is seeing in his office from patients with the flu include high fever, cough, body aches and upper respiratory infections.
Quarantining at his home in Seminole County, Larry Sherman is recovering from COVID.
“I feel good," Sherman said in a FaceTime call. "Today I am much better than I was a few days ago.”
According to Sherman his symptoms were mainly severe headaches, sinus drainage, and body aches. He is fully vaccinated for COVID, but did not receive a flu shot. Testing for the flu, never crossed his mind.
“All we hear is COVID," Sherman said. "We don’t hear about flu, colds. Everywhere you turn, it's COVID.”
Afzal said there is an explanation for that.
“Flu, you know it goes on every year, people get the flu shot," he said. "Some people don’t believe in flu shots — flu is dangerous but not as dangerous as is COVID.”
As thousands continue to go to test sites to check for COVID, those same people are not checking for the seasonal flu while at those sites.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu season peaks from December to February, and Afzal believes FluRona will only continue to grow in the coming weeks.