Influenza, or the flu, is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and include a sore throat, cough, runny nose, fever, headache, and muscle pains. Influenza spreads easily through coughs and sneezes and, although it goes away on its own, can cause more severe illness and even death among high risk populations, including the elderly, young children, and those with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Influenza is also a common cause of pneumonia, and symptoms of both diseases are similar, with pneumonia being a more serious infection of the lungs and carrying a higher risk of death. Influenza outbreaks occur yearly around the world, with outbreaks in the United States usually occurring in late fall and winter. Flu symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter products, but the most effective way to prevent the flu is with a yearly flu vaccination. As of 2019, South Korea had the highest rates of flu vaccination among the elderly of any OECD country in the world, followed by the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Although receiving an annual seasonal influenza vaccination is the best way to protect against influenza, many people in the United States do not get regularly vaccinated. During the 2020-2021 flu season only 38 percent of those aged 18 to 49 years received a flu vaccination, while 75 percent of those aged 65 years and older had been vaccinated. The effectiveness of the influenza vaccine varies from season to season and depends on the age and health status of the receiver. Nevertheless, during the 2018-2019 season, it was estimated that for every 4,127 people who received an influenza A (H1N1) vaccination, one hospitalization was prevented. During that time, it was estimated that influenza vaccinations prevented over 1.3 million influenza cases among children aged 6 months to 4 years, alone.
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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 32 most important statistics relating to "Influenza in the U.S.".