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(At left) A colorized electron micrograph image of the influenza virus. (At right) Color-enhanced electron micrograph image of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient.

MOSES LAKE - With the flu season expected to rear its ugly head soon, chatter about a ‘twindemic’ is growing louder.

The UK’s public health department issued a formal press release last week calling for all eligible people to get a flu vaccine before that start of the flu season. In that same press release, Public Health England (PHE) stated that new research suggests the “risk of death more than doubled for people who tested positive for both flu and COVID-19.” Their research was based on an analysis of cases between January and April of this year. Further investigation reportedly revealed that those with a co-infection of the two viruses were more at risk of severe illness. Most cases of co-infection were in older people and more than half of them died.

In the U.S., health officials have acknowledged the risks of a dual infection, but they haven’t made as bold of a statement about the ramifications of the co-illness as PHE.

On Tuesday, iFIBER ONE News sought an opinion from Confluence Health Physician Dr. David Curnel. Curnel wouldn’t say whether the combination of coronavirus and influenza heightens the risk of death, but he did talk about a patient he treated who caught both ailments at the same time at the start of the pandemic. Curnel says the 30-year-old patient was put on a respirator for three weeks, they eventually recovered, but Curnel says the symptoms were more severe.

Curnel did confirm that being ill with one sickness weakens your immune system and makes you more prone to catching another. Curnel says that’s why it's common for people to get mono and strep throat at the same time.

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