A Healthy You: Flu, COVID may spread through dust

A Healthy You

Flu season and COVID-19 are about to collide.

“Their symptoms will be hard to distinguish from COVID symptoms,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, Former U.S. Surgeon General, said.

Both are contagious respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses.

It’s already known that these viruses can spread through droplets in the air and from touching infected surfaces. But a new study suggests the flu and potentially other viruses, like the coronavirus, may be carried on small particles of dust that float in the air.

The research published in the journal Nature Communications determined animals could infect one another in a lab through the virus on their fur and dried tissues soaked with the virus could send off potentially infectious particles through the air when they were crumpled.

This is adding another layer of concern as health officials are already bracing for flu season amid the pandemic.

“Because of the challenges, the ongoing challenges we have with testing capacity, it may take us a while to figure out whether a person who has a fever actually has covid or something else, which means more people will be isolated for longer and also means it will be harder to keep schools and workplaces open,” Murthy said.

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