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What “Flurona” Means for the Mid-Pandemic 2022 Flu Season


Flu season is here — and we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. While experts can’t predict exactly what will happen over the next several months, how people handle the COVID-19 pandemic could directly impact the spread and severity of influenza. And with the emergence of a new buzzword, flurona, people understandably have more questions than ever.

Here’s what experts know so far about this year’s pandemic flu season — and what they recommend for curbing the spread of both COVID-19 and influenza.

When does flu season start and how long does it last?

Generally, flu season starts in the fall and peaks in early winter, with cases dwindling in the later spring months. Neha Vyas, M.D., a family medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic, says cases can start as early as September and sometimes last even through May. The exact time frame for when flu cases begin to spread, peak, and dwindle can vary by region.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older people, young children, those who are pregnant, and people with long-term health conditions are at greater risk for flu complications.

How dangerous is the flu?

The first thing to know: No matter how “dangerous” a given flu season is, it’s important to protect yourself — and, as with the COVID-19 pandemic, to prevent the spread to people who are at higher risk. The flu is common — the CDC estimates that millions of people get it every year — but it still can land you in the hospital and even kill you. Yes, older people and young children are examples of those who are more likely to experience severe cases, but generally healthy, 20-somethings get sick as well.

Dana Hawkinson, M.D., assistant professor of infectious diseases at he University of Kansas, says researchers look at flu activity in the southern hemisphere to understand more about flu season here. But lower or higher influenza rates may be based on public health measures related to COVID-19, making it even more crucial we follow public guidelines that help prevent its spread.

“We are hoping that the public health guidance and adherence to principles such as physical distancing, not meeting in large groups, and hand hygiene will have a positive impact on flu rates,” he says.

What symptoms should I watch out for?

Even if your case doesn’t require a doctor’s visit, having the flu is no picnic. According to the CDC, flu symptoms include:



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