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What Are Your Odds of Getting the Flu?

Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner, MD on August 28, 2020

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.

8,200 to 20,000 -- 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.

162 million to 169 million -- Number of flu vaccine doses expected to be available in the U.S. for the 2019-2020 flu season.

Continued

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 2019-206 "trivalent" flu vaccine:

  • A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
  • A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus

To protect against a second lineage of B viruses, four-component or quadrivalent vaccines are recommended to contain:

  • the three recommended viruses above, plus B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) 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

Sources

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control.

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