Tag Archives: flu

Preparing for the Flu Season in the Wake of a Deadly One

“Flu season deaths top 80,000 last year” read the headline that caught my eye last week. Last year was the deadliest flu season since 1976, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, with 80,000 Americans dying from the flu and flu complications during the winter of 2017-2018.

It was an unusual flu season for other reasons too, according to the CDC. We had a record-breaking 900,000 hospitalizations due to the flu, and we had three weeks during which the entire country was affected by the flu at a high level as compared to the usual region-by-region activity of the virus.

Why was the flu season so bad?
Why was it such a deadly flu season? According to one source, the flu season was so bad for a combination of reasons:

  • The flu vaccine used was less effective.
  • The strains of flu were stronger and deadlier.
  • The number of sick people who passed along the flu to others was higher.

Although we can use hindsight to see why last year was so deadly, we can’t know what the next flu season will bring, so we must be prepared, to keep ourselves and our loved ones protected.

The flu can hurt us financially too
As we’ve written before, the consequences of the flu go beyond being sick or even hospitalized. Many of us are also negatively impacted when kids miss school and parents must stay home from work to care for them. Many of those parents are staying home without pay. And when you’re talking about millions of school days missed and 22% of those days uncompensated for the parents who had to take time off either to care for their children or because they were sick, you can see a huge financial impact due to the flu.

What can you do to prepare for this year’s flu season?
Experts say to assume this year’s flu season will be as bad as last year’s, and they recommend getting a flu vaccine by the end of October. However, getting a flu shot does not mean you won’t get the flu. So in addition to getting your flu shot, you should also follow this advice to minimize your risk:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
  • Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, and take good care of yourself. This strengthens your immune system. (Plus it’s plain old commonsense for healthy living!)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. The flu virus can survive 24 hours on hard surfaces and you won’t know if someone sick has touched that gas pump handle or ATM machine before you got there.

Also go to the CDC website to learn more about the flu vaccine and prevention.

To read about all those deaths from an illness we consider to be a “normal” one is heartbreaking. Let’s try to prevent another deadly year as we take steps to protect ourselves knowing a new flu season is coming.

Why You Can’t Afford to Let You or Your Family Get the Flu This Year

Flu season might not have hit your area yet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking about it, because chances are it will hit…soon.

Although some people might dismiss the flu as no big deal and something we just have to put up with and go through each year, avoiding the flu is actually serious business. In fact, the flu is serious enough that there’s a government website devoted to it: Flu.gov.

At this point, you might be wondering why a blog about home security and safety is delving into something as off-topic as influenza. The answer is that we care about all aspects of keeping your family safe and secure! And keeping everyone healthy, avoiding risky medical complications, and preventing unnecessary expenses all fall into the category of safe and secure, in our opinion.

Why you want to avoid the flu
If you need convincing that avoiding the flu is imperative, consider three of the consequences of this illness: health, school and financial.

Health—Although most people will recover from the flu in two weeks or less, the flu can be deadly. Certain people, such as young children and people over age 65, are more at risk, and complications can be severe, as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website explains:

While anyone can get sick with flu and become severely ill, some people are more likely to experience severe flu illness. Young children, adults aged 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions are among those groups of people who are at high risk of serious flu complications, possibly requiring hospitalization and sometimes resulting in death.

For example, people with asthma or chronic congestive heart failure are particularly at risk. So why risk it?

School—According to a report compiled by Walgreens, kids missed 91 million days of school during the 2012-2013 school year, almost three times the number from two years prior: In 2010-2011, kids “only” missed 32 million days of school. (The 2012-2013 flu season was particularly severe!) When kids miss school, there are two different ramifications. One is getting behind. My worst case of flu happened way back in the age of the dinosaurs when I was in college. I missed so much school, I had to drop all of my classes for that quarter and start over the following quarter. There was no way I could catch up. The other ramification is financial, as parents stay home from work to care for kids, which leads us to…

Financial—Citing that Walgreens study again, 45% of parents said they have to take time off from work to care for kids sick with the flu. And of the sick days people had to take either because they were sick or their kids were, a surprising 22% of those days were uncompensated. For those who didn’t stay home sick, the employers, there was also a financial cost, to the tune of $30.4 billion in 2012-13. The Walgreens survey also found that the flu cost employees $8.5 billion in lost wages. Obviously, there’s a financial impact associated with the flu!

The flu also keeps people from holiday celebrations, business trips, vacations and more. It is a sickness to be taken seriously if you want to keep you and your family safe and secure.

Flu prevention
We’re not going to go into details about preventing and avoiding the flu, because you can find that information elsewhere (and we highly recommend the CDC website as a great place to start, especially these daily habits). But just a few quick reminders:

  • Wash your hands. Always and thoroughly.
  • Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, and take good care of yourself. It helps!
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth, even if you haven’t been around someone who is obviously sick.
  • Try to avoid being around someone who has the flu if you can!

And if you get sick? Please please please stay home! Don’t think you’re being stoic by heading to work no matter what. You’re only likely to make someone else sick. Stay home and get better, without taking anyone else down with you!


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