What Are Your Odds of Getting the Flu?

How many people get the flu each year? How much does it cost us? How well does the vaccine work?

Here's a rundown of some important statistics based on the best available data.

5% to 20% -- Percentage of the U.S. population that will get the flu, on average, each year.

200,000 -- Average number of Americans hospitalized each year because of problems with the illness.

3,000 to 49,000 -- Number of people who die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S.

$10 billion+ -- Average costs of hospitalizations and outpatient doctor visits related to the flu.

1 to 4 days -- Typical time it takes for symptoms to show up once you've caught the virus. Adults can be contagious from the day before symptoms begin through 5 to 10 days after the illness starts.

December to February -- Peak flu season in the U.S.

171 million to 179 million -- Number of flu vaccine doses expected to be available in the U.S. for the 2015-2016 flu season.

6 months -- The youngest age for which the CDC recommends a flu shot.

Swine flu -- A new type that spread worldwide during 2009-2010, causing the first flu pandemic -- global outbreak of disease -- caused by a new flu virus in more than 40 years. It's estimated that the pandemic caused more than 12,000 flu-related deaths in the U.S. In contrast to seasonal flu, nearly 90% of the deaths were of people younger than 65.

3 viruses -- You get protection from two influenza A viruses and one influenza B virus with the 2015-2016 "trivalent" flu vaccine:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage)

Some of the 2015-2016 flu vaccine is "quadrivalent" and protects against an additional B virus (B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus).

2 weeks -- Time it takes after vaccination for an adult to develop disease-fighting antibodies against the flu.

3 to 7 days -- Time it takes for a regular case of the illness to go away. You might have a cough and fatigue for more than 2 weeks, though.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on October 27, 2015

Sources

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control.

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