Five Fun (and not so fun) Flu Facts


Though you may have been too interested in Ebola to realize it, flu season is upon us. There are three main things you NEED TO KNOW as we head into flu season:

  1. Get your flu shot
  2. Wash your hands
  3. Stay home if you are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

But we want to also offer a little additional flu trivia—something to ponder in between sneezes. Enjoy these miscellaneous flu factoids, a great post to bookmark on your Internet browser and read when you’re in line to get your flu shot!

Did you know?

  1. Since 1918, there have been four major global flu pandemics: the current swine flu (officially named “Novel H1N1 Influenza A”); the Hong Kong flu (1968-1969), which killed approximately one million people; the Asian flu pandemic (1957-1958), which started in China and is responsible for the deaths of 1 to 4 million people; and the Spanish flu pandemic (1918-1919), which killed between 50-100 million people worldwide.
  2. Flu viruses can live up to 48 hours on hard, nonporous surfaces such as stainless steel and up to 12 hours on cloth and tissues.
  3. Viruses mutate more in one day than humans did in several million years.
  4. Bacterial pneumonia is the most common complication of the flu, and the cause of most flu-related deaths.
  5. The cost of treating annual flu epidemics, including lost wages and worker productivity, is billions of dollars each year.

Bonus trivia: the word “influenza” comes from the Italian influential, reflecting the old belief that only something with universal influence (the sun, moon or stars, for example) could explain such sudden and widespread sickness. Today the most INFLUENIAL way to fight the flu is to get your flu shot!