Each year in the U.S., about 3,000 to 49,000 people die from causes related to influenza (flu) and over 200,000 are hospitalized due to complications from flu. These complications can include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions. When kids with asthma or diabetes get flu, they are at a much higher risk for serious complications such as pneumonia.
If you're one of those people who brag, come flu season, that you "never, ever get sick," be aware: The odds may catch up to you. Every year, about 5% to 20% of U.S. residents get influenza, according to estimates from the CDC.
Taking certain antiviral drugs within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms can shorten the duration of the flu, but that involves recognizing you have the flu, getting in touch with your doctor, and going to the pharmacist before the 48 hours is up.
Just in case your number...
While getting the flu is dangerous for anyone, it's extra risky for those with diabetes. People with diabetes can have a weaker immune system and are three times more likely to die with flu and/or pneumonia.
How is COPD -- emphysema and chronic bronchitis -- worsened by flu?
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis, known together as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), affect over 12 million adults in the U.S. Both conditions are marked by obstruction to airflow that interferes with breathing. Like asthma or any lung disease, COPD is worsened by the flu. If you have COPD, it's important to learn what you can do to avoid respiratory problems.