While the seasonal influenza (flu) virus is detected year-round in the United States, it is most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May. Before deciding not to get the flu shot, it’s important to take everything into account. Not only should you be worried about the dangers of getting the flu, but also the cost of getting the flu, and how to prevent the flu if you would rather not contract the virus.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has researched that the annual direct cost of getting the flu in the United States, including hospital and doctor’s office visits and medications, is an estimated $4.6 billion. The flu causes U.S. employees to miss approximately 17 million workdays due to flu, at an estimated $7 billion a year in sick days and lost productivity.
There are plenty of ways to prevent the flu and saving your money — keeping good hygiene, avoiding others who already have the virus, installing a germicidal ultraviolet (UV-C) fixture, and of course getting the flu shot!
The Importance of a Flu Shot
Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Still, millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu and avoid the cost of getting the flu. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits, including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and even the risk of flu-related death in children.
According to the CDC, several Benefits of the flu vaccination include:
- Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu. Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2016–2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations. The cost of getting the flu can be prevented by getting the flu shot.
- In seasons when the vaccine viruses matched circulating strains, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.
- Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working age adults, and older adults — a major cost of getting the flu.
Flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year. For example, during 2016–2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 85,000 flu-related hospitalizations.
- A 2014 study showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010–2012.
- In recent years, flu vaccines have reduced the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations among adults on average by about 40%.
- A 2018 study showed that from 2012–2015, flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with flu by 82 percent.
- Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.
Vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year.
- Flu vaccination also has been shown in separate studies to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease.
- Vaccination helps protect women during and
Vaccination reduces the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant women by up to one-half.
- A 2018 study showed that getting a flu shot reduced a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized with flu by an average of 40 percent.
- Getting vaccinated can also protect a baby after birth from flu. (Mom passes antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy.) — A number of studies have shown that in addition to helping to protect pregnant women, a flu vaccine given during pregnancy helps protect the baby from flu infection for several months after birth, when he or she is not old enough to be vaccinated.
- Flu vaccine can be life-saving in children.
A 2017 study was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from influenza.
- Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
- A 2017 study showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized flu patients.
- A 2018 study showed that among adults hospitalized with flu, vaccinated patients were 59 percent less likely to be admitted to the ICU than those who had not been vaccinated. Among adults in the ICU with flu, vaccinated patients on average spent 4 fewer days in the hospital than those who were not vaccinated.
Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, elderly people, and people with certain chronic health conditions. As an added prevention to the flu, Atlantic Ultraviolet Corporation® recommends installing a Germicidal Ultraviolet (UV-C) Fixture such as the SANITAIRE® Ultraviolet Room Air Sanitizer.
SANITAIRE® fixtures are made to protect occupants including, but not limited to, personnel, clients and patients from infection due to airborne microbes — particularly in crowded or poorly ventilated areas — and in situations where the risk of cross infection is high. SANITAIRE® Ultraviolet fixtures are germicidal ultraviolet systems that effectively destroy airborne microbes including bacteria, mold, and virus in enclosed occupied spaces and are available in a number of different configurations to adapt to any setting.
Learn More about the Cost of Getting the Flu & Shop Our Products
Made in the USA from U.S. & Imported Parts, the air purification systems from Atlantic Ultraviolet Corporation® are constructed of the highest quality materials to withstand the most demanding applications. Many applications can benefit from germicidal UV-C, including those seeking to prevent the flu.
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- Learn about UV Air and Surface Disinfection Models
- View our Application Specific Page: How to Prevent the Flu
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- Shop UV Air & Surface Disinfection Models for Flu Prevention
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