This Is How Many People Have Gotten the Flu This Year

Haven't caught it yet? Consider yourself lucky.

This year's flu season might be the worst in a decade. And even though flu season has peaked, and the number of people going to the doctor for flu or flu-like symptoms continues to drop, there's a possibility that there could be a spike in cases if a secondary influenza B strain makes the rounds. Unfortunately, while this year's flu vaccine is reportedly 42 percent effective against influenza B, many people skip the vaccine because the efficacy seems so low. These people probably don't remember what having flu feels like.

However, the 2017-2018 flu season may actually be the worst one since the 2009 swine flu outbreak. Using rates from the 2014-2015 flu season to estimate the number of flu cases this year, experts believe that at least 56,000 people in the United States will die from the flu. There will also be an estimated 710,000 hospitalizations for flu when all is said and done.

Sadder yet, 114 children have died from flu this year. The number of pediatric deaths is so precise because CDC tracks them individually, and doctors have to report them, while adult figures are merely estimated. With that in mind, experts believe that a staggering 34 million will be affected by the flu by the time this outbreak has come to an end. For perspective, that's the equivalent of every single person in Massachusetts, Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri, Maryland, and Hawaii getting the flu.

And while flu season does seem to be winding down, we're not out of the woods just yet. Since a second wave of flu may be on the horizon, it's still important to take measures to protect yourself, like staying away from sick people, refraining from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, disinfecting surfaces you touch regularly, exercising, and washing your hands. And when you wan to stay healthier all year long, start with the 20 Habits That Slash Your Flu Risk.

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