After long Covid, beware of long flu!

After long Covid, beware of long flu!

According to a recent study, the flu could also cause long-term symptoms. An update on this condition, with Dr Gérald Kierzek, medical director of TipsForWomens.

Do you know the long flu? According to researchers at the University of Washington, it is a severe form of seasonal flu, the symptoms of which last over time. Explanations.

Long-term symptoms after the flu

In this study, published in the journal “The Lancet Infectious Diseases“, scientists analyzed health data from 81,280 patients hospitalized with coronavirus between March 2020 and June 2022 and from 10,985 candidates hospitalized with seasonal flu between October 2015 and February 2019.

After these infections, the participants were monitored for nearly 18 months and their risks of death, hospitalizations and adverse effects were compared.

The scientists then noticed that, in the same way as for “long Covid”, certain patients suffered from flu symptoms for several weeks.

Nearly 30 days after the start of the infection, a peak in risks was even observed. Patients were then more likely to be resuscitated or even die from flu symptoms.

Health risks were highest 30 days after infection“, confirms the main author of the study, Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, in a press release. “Many people think they have recovered from Covid-19 or the flu after leaving the hospital. This may be true for some people. But our research shows that both viruses can cause long-term illness.”he adds.

Long Covid, long flu… same effects?

It’s a “major lesson we learned from SARS-CoV-2“, further specifies Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly. According to him, any infection that we think is short-lived can in reality lead to “a chronic illness“.

However, the overall risk and occurrence of death, hospitalizations, and health loss in many systems is significantly higher in patients with COVID-19 than in those who have had seasonal flu. “The only notable exception is that influenza poses higher risks to the pulmonary system than COVID-19.”, did he declare. “This tells us that the flu is actually more of a respiratory virus, as we have all thought for 100 years. In comparison, COVID-19 is more aggressive and indiscriminate in that it can attack the pulmonary system, but it can also strike any organ system and is more likely to cause fatal or serious illnesses involving the heart, brain, kidneys and other organs”.

In conclusion, the researchers emphasize the importance of vaccination against these two viruses: “For both COVID-19 and seasonal flu, vaccinations can help prevent serious illness and reduce the risk of hospitalization and death. Optimizing vaccination rates must remain a priority for governments and health systems around the world. This is particularly important for vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those who are immunocompromised.”.

Just a fashionable medical term?

For Dr Gérald Kierzek, interviewed on the subject, “it is a medical marketing term, or even a journalistic term rather than a new reality. Some people do indeed have an immune deficiency; the virus – flu, covid or other – then serves as a trigger here”he says.

If, in itself, having symptoms for several days or several weeks is not serious, you must nevertheless ensure “that there is nothing else underlying, such as depression or hyperthyroidism. The doctor then carries out an elimination diagnosis“, he concludes.