By Alice Finch
Impact of Flu
- Each year, approximately 200,000 hospitalizations related to influenza disease
- Each year, approximately 36,000 influenza-associated deaths occur (90% are in those age 65 years and older)
- Children have the highest rates of influenza infection, while the elderly have the highest rates of complications (pneumonia, death) from influenza
- Risk of hospitalization is 4 times higher in pregnant women than non-pregnant women
School age children have the highest rates of influenza infection, therefore, they serve as a major source in spreading influenza to others in the community. For this reason, prevention of influenza infection in children by vaccinating them is a good way to prevent influenza in the community.
- In a typical flu season, it is estimated that more than 40% of school age kids get the flu
- In a 2009 Canadian study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, vaccinating school children resulted in a 60% reduction in influenza infection rates in adults.
The flu shot is effective in preventing influenza infection. The effectiveness is increased if there is a good “match” between influenza viruses present in the community and those in the vaccine.
- In general, about 80% effective among healthy persons younger than 65 years old
- In general, about 20-30% effective among frail elderly persons
As you can see, vaccinating the whole family against seasonal flu protects our most vulnerable: the very young, old, and those with low immunity. The flu vaccine does not give you the flu, but it does save lives.
For more information, go to http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease