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Concerns for ‘twindemic’ rise

Posted November. 17, 2022 07:43,   

Updated November. 17, 2022 07:43


The concern is rising for a wave of ‘Twindemic’ as both Covid-19 and flu patients have recently become widespread. What would be an effective way to prevent the twindemic in winter?

“Vaccination is the most effective way to protect people from catching the flu,” said Dr. Choi Cheon-ung, a professor of the respiratory and allergy medicine division at Gangdong Kyunghee University Hospital. “The safety of the vaccine is already proven for several decades.” The National Vaccination Program offers free vaccination to those aged 65 or older by the end of this year.

Four types of influenza viruses cause flu: A, B, C, and D. The type of vaccine used in the national program this year is the “quadrivalent” recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Quadrivalent influenza (flu) vaccine is designed to protect against four different flu viruses, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. Those yet to be vaccinated are recommended to get the dose by the end of November.

For Covid-19 prevention, a bivalent vaccine booster is used to respond to omicron variants. As the vaccination targets have recently been expanded to include people 18 or older, getting the vaccine is currently the best way to prevent twindemics for those with chronic diseases or those who fear covid 19 infection. Then what would be the way to tell which illness one has gotten when the symptoms are similar to the flu, cold, or COVID-19 appear? Experts say it is difficult to completely differentiate between the flu and cold based on symptoms alone.

Common colds can be caused by more than 100 types of viruses, including rhinovirus and adenovirus, while influenza viruses are the reason for developing flu. While respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, and sputum are common, influenza is characterized by severe bodily symptoms such as sudden high fever, muscle pain all over the body, and physical weakness. Also, unlike influenza, a common cold cannot be prevented with vaccination.

“Symptoms of Covid-19 are similar to a cold, but additionally, it causes sore throat and hoarseness as well as smell and taste dysfunctions,” Dr. Choi explained. “It is vital to follow personal quarantine procedure in a twindemic situation thoroughly. Keeping personal hygiene such as wearing a mask and disinfecting hands are all the more important, as mandatory social distancing has been lifted,” he emphasized.”

Jin-Han Lee likeday@donga.com