WEDNESDAY, March 30, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who also have the flu have a double whammy that brings a much higher risk of severe illness and death than COVID alone, according to a new study.
The findings highlight the need to test COVID-19 patients for the flu and underscore the importance of vaccination against both COVID-19 and influenza, U.K. researchers said.
“We found that the combination of COVID-19 and flu viruses is particularly dangerous. This will be important as many countries decrease the use of social distancing and containment measures," said study co-author Kenneth Baillie, a professor of experimental medicine at the University of Edinburgh.
"We expect that COVID-19 will circulate with flu, increasing the chance of co-infections. That is why we should change our testing strategy for COVID-19 patients in hospital and test for flu much more widely," Baillie said in a university news release.
The researchers analyzed data on nearly 7,000 adults in the United Kingdom who were hospitalized with COVID-19 between Feb. 6, 2020 and Dec. 8, 2021 and tested for other respiratory viral infections.
The 227 patients who had both COVID-19 and the flu were over four times more likely to require breathing support and 2.4 times more likely to die than those with COVID-19 alone, according to the study. The results were published March 25 in The Lancet journal.
"In the last two years we have frequently witnessed patients with COVID-19 become severely ill, at times leading to an ICU admission and the employment of an artificial ventilator to help with breathing," said study co-author Maaike Swets, a Ph.D. student at the University of Edinburgh and Leiden University in the Netherlands.
"That an influenza infection could give rise to a similar situation was already known, but less was understood about the outcomes of a double infection of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses," Swets said in the release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains the similarities and differences between COVID-19 and the flu.
SOURCE: University of Edinburgh, news release, March 25, 2022
Many Parents Too Quick to Give Fever Meds to Kids: Poll
Cooler Noses May Be Key to Winter's Spike in Colds
Is Your Kid's Runny Nose Going on Forever? Here's What You Need to Know
Having Kids Around Might Shield You From Severe COVID: Study
FDA Panel to Again Weigh Merit of Decongestant That Many Call Useless
How Worried Should the World Be About Bird Flu in Humans?
Flu, RSV, COVID: Shield Yourself From the 'Tripledemic' This Holiday
With Tough Flu Season Already Here, An Expert Answers Your Flu Shot Questions
COVID Is More Dangerous Than Flu for Kids, Study Finds