Louisiana has just experienced some major get-togethers over the past few weeks. Lafayette's Festival International drew crowds well in excess of 100,000. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival boasted attendance in excess of 500,000 and in Breaux Bridge, they didn't count the people but we know there were a lot of folks that attended the annual Crawfish Festival.

Festival International de Louisiane, Facebook
Festival International de Louisiane, Facebook

And while gathering together in large masses is something we do well in Louisiana it might not be the best thing for our health. Chances are you know at least one person who has suffered from a sore throat, a cough, a runny nose, congestion, and muscle aches over the past couple of weeks. According to the Centers for Disease Control, these symptoms could be signs of FLiRT.

Portrait Of Ill Woman Caught Cold
Getty Images/iStockphoto, ThinkStock Images

FLiRT is the "nickname" medical professionals have given to two new strains of the virus that are subvariants of COVID. Scientists know them as KP.2 and KP.1.1 but we regular folks will just call them FLiRT. The variants of the COVID virus aren't unexpected, changing and mutating is what viruses do, so this is an expected behavior.

These variants have been shown to be highly transmissible and even if you've been vaccinated against COVID and had boosters you may still not be totally protected from these variants of the COVID strain. Those who have experienced FLiRT variants say the symptoms run the gamut from mild to severe and usually manifest two days to two weeks after exposure.

Woman with sick baby calling doctor

What Are the Symptoms of FLiRT?

They are very consistent with COVID-19 symptoms, flu symptoms, and the symptoms of a common cold, so you might want to be tested should you experience any of the following.

  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever or chills
  • New loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms were laid out in an article published on Al.com. Medical experts are concerned that as many people have waning immunity from COVID-19 these new variants will create a new wave of sickness. Current thinking suggests the country could see a mid-summer peak in cases as more and more people are out and about and gathering in large groups.

David Hernandez, Getty Stock / ThinkStock

Basic hygiene guidelines appear to be your best bet against either avoiding or minimizing your exposure to this next virus variant. And speaking of exposure, if you're not feeling well, stay home and consult your doctor for a treatment plan that is right for you.

10 Most Dangerous Cities in Louisiana

While Louisiana is full of friendly people, great food, and fantastic music, there are some parts of it that aren't so good. The FBI has compiled a list of the most dangerous cities in every state, and here are the ones that topped the list for 2023.








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