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How many people get the flu each year?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Influenza (flu) is extremely common worldwide. During "flu season", which is generally during fall and winter, outbreaks affect people in great numbers. In the United States, seasonal influenza affects from 5 percent to 20 percent of people each year, with about 200,000 of those people having to be hospitalized for complications related to influenza, and an average of 36,000 dying from these complications.

The flu infects millions of us -- 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Canada, 10 to 25 percent of the population gets the flu each year, according to Health Canada. It can leave us achy, sniffling, sneezing, coughing and generally feeling miserable for a few days or weeks.

Most think of the flu as a mild annoyance that comes around each winter, but it can be a very dangerous disease. In the United States alone, the CDC estimates that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year with the flu or with flu-related complications. More than 36,000 people die.

The World Health Organization has determined that the flu kills between 250,000 to 500,000 people each year.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.