Influenza Statistics: What to Know About the Flu

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It’s officially flu season again, just like we see every fall and winter. We all know how horrible it can be to get the flu, particularly if we have underlying health issues like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease since these put extra stress on our bodies and immune systems.

The bad thing about the flu is that different influenza viruses change every year, making prevention a dynamic national problem. Even if we get one vaccine for the most prevalent one, we could still end up with the flu.

Influenza statistics by the numbers will tell you everything you need to know including the flu shot, flu virus, and how to stay healthy during flu season. Please refer to the CDC for the most up-to-date and accurate information on current variants, most often prescribed antiviral medication, and steps you should take to avoid serious flu-related complications.

Please keep in mind I am not a nurse, doctor, or anyone in the medical field. I just like to know my options when dealing with sickness.

Influenza Statistics: What to Know About the Flu

Influenza Statistics: What to Know About the Flu

What is Influenza Virus?

The influenza virus is actually various viruses that cause what we know of as the flu. The flu is a very contagious respiratory illness that infects your nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs, often causing difficulty breathing, flu cough, chest pain, and other symptoms as listed below. 

Influenza/Flu Symptoms

The bad thing about the flu is that you sometimes don’t know if you have the flu or the common cold because the symptoms are so similar. Some symptoms that show you may have an influenza virus include:

  • Fever
  • Feeling feverish/chills
  • Nausea-stomach flu
  • Cough 
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Sometimes vomiting or diarrhea
  • Ear Infections
  • Sinus Infection

Complications of the flu can lead to hospitalization and life-threatening complications, so you have to take your sickness seriously if you have a history of health issues that could be compromised. Normal routines and natural life events like pregnant women experience can be affected if you contract the flu. Flu viruses are unique and tricky. Since the flu is a virus there are specific antiviral medicines that can be prescribed, depending on the influenza type to fight the contagious viral infection you have. The new subtypes of influenza that appear each year complicate treatment and prevention.

A sickness like pneumonia is treated pretty much the same each year since it is one of many bacterial infections, thus the name bacterial pneumonia. These are treated with antibiotics, and although they come out with new antibiotics all the time, there are specific ones used over and over again because the bacteria strains don’t tend to change or mutate as viruses do.

How do you Catch It: Influenza Statistics

Catching the flu is pretty easy to do. Those who have the flu can spread it to others who are standing 6 feet away through tiny droplets that become airborne from our own mouths. Airborne droplets fly into the air when someone coughs, sneezes, has a runny nose, or when talking. Here are some statistics on the process of infection:

  • Those infected with the flu are most contagious during the first 3-4 days.
  • You can infect others for 24 hours before you even get symptoms. 
  • Those infected can pass the virus to others for 5-7 days after getting sick. 
  • It usually takes about 2-days before you show symptoms after being exposed.  
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If you Catch the Flu

If you catch the flu, you’ll want to go to the doctor. Many doctors will prescribe Tamiflu for those with the flu. If you aren’t ready to go to the doctor or to take prescription medication, you can try Natural Remedies that Really Work! If your symptoms don’t improve or worsen, seek medical treatment!

How Common is the Flu

The influenza virus is so common that not everyone who is infected each season can be known for sure, it can only be estimated. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the annual percentage of those infected with the flu is about 8% of the U.S. population. Here are some influenza statistics reported by the CDC from October 2019 to February 2020:

  • 22 million to 31 million have had flu illnesses
  • 10 million to 15 million have visited the doctor for the flu.
  • 210,000 to 370,000 have been hospitalized for flu complications.
  • 12,000 to 30,000 have died because of the flu, many in long-term care facilities. 

The reason you hear so much about the flu or influenza is that it is obviously incredibly common. As you can see, 5% to 20% of the population will get the flu each year. Studies have shown that adults typically get the flu twice per decade. However, children can catch the flu every other year, on average. 

These are estimated ranges because not all cases of the flu are caught or reported. Nevertheless, even cases that are reported are significant in number. 

You may want to invest in some N95 masks, they may help you from spreading the sickness in your own home, at work, attending church, or at other functions that take you outside your home. N95 Masks

How To Stock Your Home Pharmacy

When is the Flu Most Common

It is now late November, and it seems like everyone around me is sick! Well, that’s because the flu actually becomes the most prevalent in December and February. The flu can be detected all year round, but historically it begins to increase in October, hits a peak in December, and then increases even more in February. 

Influenza Statistics on Shots

Should you get the flu shot? Many experts agree that the best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu shot every year. This is because it fights the virus before you come into contact with it. Additionally, if you do catch the flu, it lessens the symptoms. Let me be clear, I’m not advocating for or against flu shots, but if you tend to be more susceptible to sickness or disease, then you should strongly consider getting the shot.

Just because you got the flu shot last year doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods and you consider yourself one of the healthy people. The types of flu change and need to be addressed each year through the most current flu shot.

How does it work?

The flu vaccine works by giving your body a deactivated flu virus. This allows your body’s immune system to fight the virus before you come into contact with the live virus. It may not prevent all the different variations of the flu, but it will help lessen symptoms since your body already “knows” how to fight it. 

Influenza Statistics and Facts

Here are just a few statistics and facts you should know about the flu shot:

  • It takes 2-weeks after the vaccine for your body to build up antibodies.
  • It is recommended to start getting flu shots every 6-months. 
  • The flu shot reduces your chances of catching the flu by 40-60%.
  • The vaccine will only protect you from 3-4 different flu strains. Not all of them. 

Influenza Statistics Over 10 Years

What is important to note is that in the last 10 years, the number of people who get the flu has not decreased. In fact, it stays relatively the same, and in some years increases. Deaths have also gone up and down depending on the year. Here are a few statistics:

  • 2010 to 2011: 21 million cases were reported and 32,000 died.
  • 2011 to 2012: 9.3 million cases were reported and 12,000 died.
  • 2012 to 2013: 34 million people were reported to have the flu and 43,000 died.
  • 2013 to 2014: There were 30 million people with the flu and 38,000 died.
  • 2014 to 2015: Again, 30 million had the flu, but 51,000 died.
  • 2015 to 2016: 24 million people had the flu and 23,000 died.
  • 2016 to 2017: This year, 29 million people had the flu and 38,000 died.
  • 2017 to 2018: There was a record of 45 million people who had the flu and 61,000 died.
  • 2018 to 2019: An average of 35 million had the flu and 34,000 died from it.
  • Current 2019 to 2020: See the above statistics.
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To me, it seems like regardless of the vaccine, there are still many cases of the flu, mainly because people make the conscious decision not to get the shot. Yes, there may be possible side effects like loss of appetite, but they are generally minor in nature. The main thing we can do is work on ways to stay healthy and stay flu-free.

How to Stay Healthy

When it comes to staying healthy, there are a few things you can do to help prevent you and your household from contracting an influenza virus or another sickness. 

  1. Wash your hands. Wash your hands often and thoroughly. Make sure to wash them after using the bathroom, before cooking, and whenever you touch money, public door handles, remote controls, shared keyboards and mice, etc. 
  2. Drink lots of water. Water flushes your system out, which helps to flush viruses and bacteria. Drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Those who drink much alcohol need to remember it doesn’t help keep you hydrated and may reduce the effectiveness of your immune system over time.
  3. Read How to Stop Influenza in Your Home. You will find some great tips for staying healthy and getting healthy once you get sick. 

Related: How to Clean Your House and Stay Healthy

Stock Your Home Pharmacy

Final Word on these Influenza Statistics

Flu season is among us, but so are some other infectious diseases such as the coronavirus. Whether you are young, old, or perfectly healthy, it is important to wash your hands, drink lots of water, and stock up on pandemic supplies you will need.

We’ve covered a lot of useful information in this post. We hope it proves helpful as you strive to protect your family from the flu and its effects.

Some of the questions people ask about the flu and we tried to answer are:

What causes influenza? Can influenza be cured? How long are you usually sick with influenza? How serious is influenza? Can influenza heal itself? What kills a flu virus?

Check the Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report to stay up to date on influenza stats. Stay healthy and God Bless! Have you had the flu? Share your stories in the comments below! Stay well, my friends! May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Influenza AdobeStock_245369435 Terovesalainen

19 thoughts on “Influenza Statistics: What to Know About the Flu

  • December 6, 2022 at 7:26 am
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    Linda,

    My wife and I get flu shots every year and we haven’t had flu for more than a decade. Not saying they are for everyone but they seem to work for us.

    Reply
    • December 6, 2022 at 9:20 am
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      I agree, Ray. We get the flu shots and haven’t had the flu since we started doing that. Of course people should decide with the help of their doctor.

      Reply
      • December 6, 2022 at 11:37 am
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        Hi Janet, I agree everyone should decide for themselves. I love hearing you are staying well! Linda

        Reply
    • December 6, 2022 at 11:36 am
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      Hi Ray, I think whatever works for someone, do it. Thank goodness you have not had the flu in more than a decade! I love hearing you are staying well! Linda

      Reply
  • December 6, 2022 at 1:05 pm
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    TOTALLY OFF TOPIC……Linda, Do you and your readers have any thoughts about the power outage and destruction in North Carolina??

    Reply
    • December 6, 2022 at 2:32 pm
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      Chris,
      I have some thoughts about that event. And, I am sure others do as well. But, I know that my thoughts and possibly some others thoughts are not suitable for Linda’s blog. I understand your concern about the event, but she has certain guidelines to which she must adhere. No offense meant. Have a good day!

      Reply
      • December 6, 2022 at 5:22 pm
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        Hi Harry, thank you, my friend. I have some topics I am not allowed by my advertisers to talk about. I know you and I have talked about them. I will email Chris directly the topics if I remember. LOL! Linda

        Reply
    • December 6, 2022 at 5:19 pm
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      Hi Chris, I don’t think any of us know who did this but I have been talking about this for years. My biggest fear is a power grid outage/attack. The FBI has been brought in. This is not the first time something like this has happened. I have a post going out tomorrow, please stay tuned. Linda

      Reply
  • December 6, 2022 at 3:55 pm
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    I never intended to do anything wrong. Is it possible to post my email address so people can respond directly, or would that be wrong to?? Please advise.

    Reply
    • December 6, 2022 at 4:06 pm
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      Chris,
      I was not worried about what you posted, however, I was just afraid that someone might reply to you with comments that could get Linda some flack from her provider. Please know that I was not accusing you of doing anything wrong. LOL!!! And, whether to post your email address or not is your prerogative. But, you will then be open for comments from anyone that reads Linda’s blog. At this point, perhaps Linda will reply to you with a suggestion on how to handle the situation. BTW, I read all of your comments to Linda’s various posts and find them informative.

      Reply
      • December 6, 2022 at 5:28 pm
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        Hi Harry, I will email Chris, I am writing about power outages for tomorrow. I need everyone’s comments, I love this forum, it keeps me going. I love you all. Linda

        Reply
      • December 6, 2022 at 5:58 pm
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        Thank you Harry, Linda, and all your readers for your valuable advice. I am having my foot removed from my mouth even as you read this. I have an advanced degree in panic and a minor in worry 2.0. All your help has been more appreciated than you will ever know.

        God Bless America and keep us all safe.

        Chris
        Gratitude makes what we have enough

        Reply
        • December 6, 2022 at 7:07 pm
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          Hi Chris, all is well on the homefront. LOL! Life is good with all our members of this forum. Linda. P.S. I have bigger feet. LOL

          Reply
    • December 6, 2022 at 5:27 pm
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      Hi Chris no apology is needed. A few bloggers were shut down without any notice, literally. My husband and I need the income from my blog to support our Social Security income. You did nothing wrong. About a year or two ago, a few bloggers were banned because of their content. I notified a few of my readers to tell them about the situation. You do not need to worry. I delete all negative or aggressive meanness before you will ever see them. Linda

      Reply
      • December 6, 2022 at 5:57 pm
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        Well, I was just trying to defuse anyone posting something that could cause problems. I did not mean to insult Chris by any means. I know of some other bloggers that have gotten in trouble by straying too far from the path. I didn’t want that to happen because some irate jerk like me posted something sinister. LOL!! Please know that I appreciate Chris and she posts good comments to many of your blog posts. You may give my email address to Chris in case she wants to contact me directly.
        Harry

        Reply
  • December 7, 2022 at 11:00 am
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    Don’t forget to keep your immune system strong in its own right–i.e., before you even think about vaccines, which may or may not be effective against the flu strains prevalent in a given year. Take vitamin D3 (works best if it also includes K2)–most people in North America are quite deficient in vitamin D, due partly to our latitude (low sun in winter) and partly to indoor living and less sun exposure. Vitamin C is another. Finally, zinc (a natural antiviral) taken along with quercetin (which aids getting the zinc into your cells). Don’t assume you’re OK because you take a multivitamin–sadly, the FDA’s “recommended daily allowances” are just the bare minimum to prevent the appearance of deficiency diseases (such as rickets and scurvy)–not the amount needed for true health!

    I’ll also recommend something that I rely on to fend off airborne diseases–a salt/iodine “inhaler.” Take a small bottle and put an inch or so of pink Himalayan salt or gray sea salt in the bottom. Add 3-4 drops of plain old first-aid iodine. Cap the bottle and shake it up until well mixed. Then–every day, and/or whenever you’ve been out where you think you might have been exposed, just put your nose over the open top and sniff deeply (huff, if you will!) Of course you don’t really inhale either salt or iodine, but you’ll be able to smell it–much like seaside air. Supposedly, the volatized iodine will attack any virus particulate you may have picked up that’s lodged in your airways, before it can “get” you. (You will need to add a drop or two of iodine at least every week, then shake it to mix. Mine’s been going for several years now!)

    Reply
    • December 7, 2022 at 11:40 am
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      Hi Rhonda, oh I’m making this solution right now. I love home remedies! Those 2 ingredients I stock, thank you for sharing!!! Linda

      Reply
      • December 8, 2022 at 6:13 am
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        One homemade mix I and my children take is elderberry and honey. I give it to them every other day. I make this myself. But becarful because it will turn into “mead”

        Reply
        • December 8, 2022 at 7:53 am
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          Hi Renee, oh my gosh, I had to Google “mead”! I got the giggles, I learn something new every sinlge day. Linda

          Reply

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