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3 Things You Didn't Know About the Flu

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After such a severe flu season last year, flu prevention tips are everywhere.  Most of us know what we are supposed to do to help stop the spreading the flu – wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, stay home if you’re sick.  Did I say wash your hands?  However, these things don’t happen as often or as well as they need to.

So here are a few things you might not know about the flu that might make you think twice about some of the tips that are out there and why you should follow them.

#1 – Why You Should Get a Flu Shot

According to the CDC, the flu vaccine prevented an estimated 5.3 million illnesses during the 2016-2017 flu season, but there were still nearly 57% of adults that did not get their influenza vaccination. 

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Last year, nearly 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications – the disease’s highest death toll in at least 4 decades, and unfortunately one of the highest for flu-related deaths in children (183).  Studies completed by the CDC have shown as many as 90% of flu-related deaths in children occur in those who did not receive a flu vaccination.

Many people may be skeptical of the flu vaccine, particularly after last season, when different strains made the rounds and caused illness in some cases where people had already been vaccinated.  However, a recent study by the CDC has shown that the benefits of the flu vaccination don’t end at prevention.  In a first of its kind study, the CDC showed that the flu vaccination can also lower the severity even if you still get the flu.  Getting vaccinated reduced risk of flu-associated death by half (51%) among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions and by 65% among healthy children.

In 2018, a study showed that the flu vaccine also “lessened the risk of severe flu among adults, including reducing the risk of hospitalization and admission to the intensive care unit, and also lessened the severity of illness.”

#2 – Flu-Related Costs Add Up

In the 2012-2013 flu season, among one of the more severe flu seasons prior to the 2017-2018 season, there were any estimated 34 million people that came down with the flu.  According to the CDC the flu-related burden of that season equated to to 16 million medical visits, 571,000 hospitalizations and 43,000 flu-related deaths – leading to estimated burden of more than $14 billion in flu-related costs for hospitalizations and outpatient visits for adults. 

While all of the data is not yet in on 2017-2018, we do know that an estimated 80,000 people died.   Once fully tallied, it is likely that last year was at least as costly, if not more so, than 2012-2013

The flu also causes children to miss approximately 38 million school days each year.  In addition to the operational cleaning costs (as well as costs related to teachers being out sick) some states tie elements of their school funding to attendance, so the flu can mean losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars or more to school districts.

#3 – The Flu Virus Lingers in the Air & On Surfaces

Many of us may think about catching the flu from someone coughing or sneezing directly on us.  This is one of the most common ways and people with the flu may even spread it to others up to 6 feet away.  However, the flu virus can also remain in the air and on surfaces for extended periods of time.  The flu virus can survive in the air for several hours at lower temperatures increasing the rate of survival. 

The CDC also reports that the flu virus may remain viable on surfaces, particularly hard, non-porous surfaces for up to 48 hours.  Touching those surfaces can contaminate your hands, making it more likely that you may get infected with the virus.

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Therefore, it’s critical that your flu prevention efforts including personal hygiene – make sure you wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your nose or mouth with your hands, and avoid direct contact with people that have the flu virus.  Remember that those with the flu may be contagious for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone.

It is also important that you are properly disinfecting the air and surfaces to reduce your risk of catching the flu (or spreading it if you already have it).  But the thought of constantly wiping down every surface in your home may seem like too much. 

What if you had a technology that could disinfect air and surfaces at home, at the office, or when you travel?  The S.A.G.E. (Surface & Air Germ Elimination) units from Violet Defense can kill over 99% of the flu virus using the power of light.  With our small, but powerful Micros to larger whole room units that can be installed to disinfect a 12’ x 12’ space, Violet Defense has solutions to kill the flu virus surviving and reducing the risk of you, your family, your employees, or your customers becoming ill.

Contact us for more information about Violet Defense products and how they can help protect you.

Jessica Jones