The 2017–2018 flu season was cruel. The CDC estimates that 48.8 million people became ill with influenza and nearly half of that number sought care with a medical provider. Last season’s viruses afflicted all ages of the population, not just the young and old, who are the most susceptible. Consequently, influenza hospitalizations reached an all time high since 2005 when tracking of hospitalization was expanded to record all ages. With that in mind, please take precautions to protect your health because the flu can be deadly. Not convinced? Perhaps the following list of not-so-fun flu facts will help:
You can carry the flu virus for one to two days before you begin to feel the onset of sickness. You ARE infectious during this time.
Get the flu shot at the beginning of the season. Getting the flu shot does not give you the flu. Some people have a reaction to the shot and may feel discomfort, but the minimal irritation is worth avoiding severe illness.
Southeast Asia is where most flu viruses originate and since their “winter season” is six months ahead of ours here in the western hemisphere, we can look to this region for predictions about our annual flu season. Many flu viruses originate in Asia due to the proximity of people and animals living near each other.
A flu virus can be hosted by livestock, who are not threatened by it, but can be easily passed to humans who are harmed by it.
Particles fly out of you at 90 mph when you sneeze. If you sneeze when you have the flu, you will infect people because they can’t get out of the way. No, your eyes will not pop out of your head if you sneeze while they are open, but please, sneeze into your elbow—hello, 90 mph!
About 25% of people, with or without the flu, sneeze when they look at the sun or bright light. They’re sometimes referred to as “sun-sneezers” and it’s a genetic trait.
79,400 individuals died resulting from influenza during the 2017–2018 season.
The 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic is considered the worst in history and is responsible for the deaths of an estimated 50–100 million people.