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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

What Are Your Odds of Getting the Flu?

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    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.

    Did You Know?

    Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, including checkups, vaccinations and screening tests, at no cost to you. Learn more.

    Health Insurance Center

    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

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