vaccineThe thought of getting a flu has the tendency to scare people, or make them so apathetic that they do nothing. Sometimes, there can be a panic over a flu that causes people to shut down schools or take other drastic measures to avoid being infected or to prevent their children from getting the flu.  At other times, there can be a careless attitude towards the flu, with people avoiding being vaccinated and using any excuse they can to see the flu as a non-issue.

There are some statistics about the flu that can cause the people in the latter situation to perhaps take adequate protective measures and take flu symptoms more seriously.

No Vaccination – Main Cause of Most Flu Casualties
Many parents are wary of having needles shoved into their children’s arm when they don’t absolutely have to be.  Unfortunately, the number of pediatric deaths reflects this concern.

  • A pediatric death, or the death of a child who is under the age of eighteen, is much more likely to happen because of the flu if that child is not vaccinated.
  • In fact, 90% of all pediatric death cases were that of kids who had not received a flu vaccine.
  • Since the 2008-2009 flu season, the US government has been reiterating the need for all children between the ages of six months and eighteen years to be vaccinated against flu.
  • Unfortunately, these rates remain fairly low, minimizing the effect of everyone else who has had a vaccination.

Carriers Can Spread the Flu Everywhere
The most difficult part about the flu is that if you’ve got a flu,

  • You will not necessarily show any symptoms that would indicate that you are unwell or may have got the infectious flu.
  • This can reduce the amount of protection that should ideally be taken, leading you to act as though everything is normal.
  • Unfortunately, when you have the flu, researchers have discovered that 59% of all of the surfaces in your home will contain traces of the flu that can easily be transmitted to others.
  • The biggest problem area with regards to having traces of the flu is the telephone receiver.  80% of all phone receivers in homes when people have the flu will test positive, mostly because no one ever thinks of sanitizing phone receivers.

Long Period of Being Contagious
When you’ve got the flu and it doesn’t show any symptoms of you being sick, the chances are that you will be carrying the flu traces from between one and four days before you actually begin showing any symptoms. Once you realize you’ve actually got a flu, you’ll be carrying the virus for approx five and ten days. This extremely long period of having the flu further increases the chances that you will pass the flu along to at least 5 or more people.

Not a Lot of People are Vaccinated
After the 2011-2012 flu season, the government requested that everyone be vaccinated against the flu every year.

  • When more people get a flu vaccination, it greatly reduces the chances that the flu will spread throughout a community.
  • But unfortunately, only about 39% of all people over the age of eighteen were vaccinated this past year, up only 5% from the year before.

Unlike a chickenpox vaccine, where the disease itself can be easily targeted, the flu vaccination only targets the three most likely strains of the flu to develop. Though the vaccine does not claim to be 100% effective in protecting you from getting the flu, it significantly raises the chances of you not getting the flu.  However, the government still reiterates that everyone be vaccinated since there is no downside of this vaccination.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Michele Holincheck, FNP