It is impossible to predict specifics, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 5 to 20 percent of the population will catch the flu each year.
Every season, that translates into more than 100 million workdays missed, which is estimated to cost $7 billion in sick days and lost productivity nationally.
Last year’s flu season started early and lasted into April, making for a longer-than-average season. It produced 200,000 hospitalizations nationally and 36,000 deaths related to flu complications.
This year, there’s some good news in a slow start to the season. In Missouri, in the month of October, the health department reported influenza-like illness as below baseline with 124 laboratory-positive influenza cases. Nationally, as of Nov. 9, flu activity is low with just 35 states reporting sporadic flu cases. There’s been just one death attributed to flu so far.
Peak season, however, is still ahead of us. It is expected between December and February.
Here’s what you can do to stay healthy this flu season:
- Get a flu shot. It’s recommended for everyone who’s more than six months old. And the earlier you get a shot, the better protected you will be once the viruses begin circulating in the community. You can get a flu shot at any Swope Health Services’ location. Call 816-923-5800 to schedule an appointment.
- Avoid being around people who are sick with the flu. Especially avoid touching and close contact, like sharing foods or drinks, with people who have flu symptoms.
- Wash your hands! It’s a proven method for reducing the spread of germs. Encourage kids to wash up, thoroughly and frequently.
If you do find yourself sick with the flu, do everyone else a favor and stay home to take care of yourself. Don’t spread it to others at your workplace, on the bus, in stores or at school. You’ll feel better, and so will everyone else.
Need more info? One of the best resources for public health information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where you can find “What You Should Know for the 2015-16 Influenza Season.”
Do you have questions about the flu? Let us know. You can leave a comment here or visit us at any of our locations. For appointments, call 816-923-5800.