Cured from coronavirus and living amid pollution? Get flu shot

Shalini Ojha
·3-min read


Cured from coronavirus and living amid pollution? Get flu shot
Cured from coronavirus and living amid pollution? Get flu shot

26 Oct 2020: Cured from coronavirus and living amid pollution? Get flu shot

The winter months and the blanket of air pollution are likely to worsen the coronavirus situation, even for those who have defeated the contagious disease. Hence, the recovered patients, staying in highly-polluted areas, must get a flu shot, said experts.

Air pollution, which reaches hazardous levels in North India during winter, could aggravate COVID-19 symptoms, transmission, and risk of death, reports HT.

Meaning: In severe cases, coronavirus patients suffer weeks after recovering

Several months into the pandemic, we know that some people recover on their own, many after receiving mild treatment, and a few require more extensive care, like ventilators, to get back on their feet again.

But some people, who recovered from coronavirus remain unwell even after weeks and complain of headaches, fatigue, lung inflammation, and chest tightness, making them victims of "long COVID-19."

Research: Women at more risk of long COVID-19 than men: Study

To understand how persistent long COVID-19 is, King's College London conducted a research and found that while anyone can become a victim of this, some are at a greater risk.

"Having more than five different symptoms in the first week was one of the key risk factors," Dr. Claire Steves told BBC News.

Women were found to be more prone to long COVID-19 than men.

Experience: A "recovered" coronavirus patient spoke about her woes

To explain the impact of long COVID-19, BBC cited the example of 48-year-old Vicky Bourne, who contracted the infection in March.

She wasn't hospitalized, has "recovered," but still feels unwell, even in October.

"It's almost like there's inflammation in my body that's bouncing around and it can't quite get rid of it, so it just pops up, and then it goes away," she said.

Pollution: The combination of air pollution and winter is harmful

While the UK study didn't link any previous illness, barring asthma and lung disease, to long COVID-19, newer evidence suggests that winter months and air pollution could worsen things for many.

Even those who showed little or no coronavirus symptoms could suffer, reports HT.

Riding on the available information, AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria advised people to get the flu vaccination.

Fact: A flu shot might prove miraculous, hinted Dr. Guleria

"With rising pollution, falling temperature and increasing crowding during the festival season, everyone at risk and those with 'long COVID-19' must get vaccinated against the flu to lower severity of post-recovery symptoms and also protect against flu infection," said Dr. Guleria.

Statement: Symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, hence, shot recommended

Dr. Vivek Nangia, the Head of Max Super Speciality Hospital in Saket had similar thoughts.

"Both seasonal influenza and COVID-19 may present with similar symptoms — breathlessness, cough, and cold — making it tricky for doctors to handle them. Which is why we are recommending the flu vaccine," he told The Week.

He also asked the government to subsidize rates to help more people.

Recommendation: When temperature dips, flu shot might become a savior

Dr. Rajesh Chawla, a senior pulmonologist and critical care specialist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in Delhi, concurred.

"I recommend an annual flu vaccine to all recovered COVID-19 patients and a pneumococcal vaccine to protect against pneumonia to people before the age of 65 to protect them from chronic respiratory diseases when the weather turns cold and pollution level peaks," he said.