COVID-19

Infected with influenza and COVID at the same time: risk of severe symptoms and hospitalization

A person infected with both the influenza virus and the COVID-19 virus can develop more severe symptoms and be hospitalized, even if they are vaccinated.

• See also: EN DIRECT | Developments on COVID-19

The professor of the department of biological sciences of the UQAM, Benoit Barbeau, warns that the risks of being coinfected, that is to say of contracting several viruses at the same time, are greater this year since the influenza virus will circulate more.

“We expect the number of influenza cases to be much higher than last year because last year was an atypical year and we hardly had any clinically confirmed cases of influenza at the Canadian level,” he said in an interview with LCN.

Since the influenza virus is, like COVID-19, a respiratory virus, the symptoms between the two are similar and can be worse when combined.

“It is important to remember that if you are co-infected with both the COVID-19 virus and the flu virus, your chances of developing more severe symptoms are higher,” Barbeau cautions.

These more serious symptoms can develop even in people vaccinated against COVID-19, especially among the most vulnerable population.

“We are vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and, as we have seen everywhere, there are people who get vaccinated who will become infected and who can also develop serious symptoms. It will be a lower level, obviously, than unvaccinated people, but it does not prevent that if you are coinfected, remember that your chances of being hospitalized are greater, says the professor.

Therefore, Mr. Barbeau underlines the importance of vaccination, for both COVID-19 and influenza, to avoid co-infection and the development of more serious symptoms.

“It is for this reason that we must redouble our efforts in the campaign for the COVID-19 vaccine, but also particularly against the influenza virus today,” he said.

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