The Flu Can Do What?!

We’ve written about the importance of the flu vaccine before (several times, in fact), but with flu season almost here, it’s time for a refresher on what exactly influenza can do.

When we share facts about the flu shot, we notice one troubling response: sure, the flu shot might help me not get sick, but what’s the big deal? The flu isn’t that bad, is it?

The flu is much more than a mere nuisance. Here are some details about influenza that you might not know — and that prove how important the flu shot is!

The Flu IS a Big Deal.

Flu FatalitiesTest Smartly Labs | The Flu Can Do What?!

Though it is difficult to pinpoint the exact number of flu-related deaths (as explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it’s estimated that anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 people die in the US every year due to the flu. A recent report on flu fatalities among children revealed that influenza was responsible for 830 child deaths from October 2004 – September 2012. Most of the children hadn’t received a flu shot, and 43% of them were otherwise healthy, without high-risk medical conditions (diabetes, asthma, cancer, congenital heart defects, cerebral palsy, or epilepsy) that put children at higher risk for flu-related deaths. Pneumonia was the #1 complication reported among the children who died.

Medical Complications

What does the flu, which most people dismiss as sniffles and excessive sleepiness, have to do with fatalities? While the flu virus itself might seem innocuous, when it snowballs and causes other complications, it can lead to death, particularly among vulnerable populations like the very young, very old, or those with compromised immunities.

There are several dangerous complications from the flu shot, including:

  • Viral or bacterial pneumonia
  • Central nervous system disease
  • Heart attack
  • Myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Pericarditis, or inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart
  • Worsening of existing conditions, including congestive heart failure, diabetes, and asthma

Any of these conditions can prove fatal or require hospitalization. The flu shot can help you avoid these complications and stay well.

Influenza Pandemics

When influenza spreads worldwide and infects a larger proportion of the population, it’s classified as a pandemic. There have been 4 major pandemics since 1900, and experts estimate these occur 2-3 times per century. Fatalities can range from 1 million to 100 million people worldwide.
Considering that the yearly flu virus alone infects up to 20% of Americans and lands up to 200,000 in the hospital, these facts about flu pandemics are terrifying! And since we can’t predict when the next one will occur, it’s best to protect yourself against influenza with a flu shot each year; you’ll be safeguarding yourself, your family, and your community.

Fight the Flu With Test Smartly Labs

It won’t be long before flu season is upon us. Protect yourself with a flu shot! Test Smartly Labs facilities nationwide offer the flu vaccine to individuals; if you’re a business owner, we can even provide on-site immunizations. Find your local Test Smartly Labs and walk in for a flu shot today!


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