Falling leaves, happy holidays, and cooler weather are on the way, along with less pleasant things, like cold and flu season. We’ve compiled five facts to help you get to know our unwelcome yearly visitor: influenza.
1: The Six Foot Sneeze
While you can get the flu by touching a contaminated surface, the flu usually spreads through the air. Most people get the flu by ingesting or inhaling droplets from an infected person that sneezed, coughed, or talked within about six feet of them. As with the spread of COVID-19, masks and frequent cleaning can help stop the spread of these infectious droplets.
2: Vaccines Can Help You Block the Flu for Others
If you and others you come in contact with are vaccinated, it can prevent the spread of the flu by lowering the overall chance of transmission. This is particularly important for people who come in contact with children or seniors frequently. Children and seniors are at a higher risk of catching the flu and experiencing severe symptoms.
3: Vaccination Rates Vary Significantly by State
Even among states that share a border flu vaccination rates can differ by more than 10%.
As of May, the average monthly influenza vaccination coverage for people age ≥6 months was 41.7%. Here are how some of the states Meridian operates in compared to the average: Maryland: 49.3%; Virginia: 48.1%; South Dakota: 47.7%; Nebraska: 47%; Georgia: 38.7%; Louisiana: 35.3%. Explore stats for all states using FluVaxView.
4: Playing the Odds
The more you’re exposed, the more likely you are to catch the flu, especially if you and others around you aren’t vaccinated. Of course, once you’re infected, you can infect many others for about a week. Up to 11% of people in the U.S. get influenza each year, with children being the most affected group.
5: The Flu: Coming to a City Near You
If you live in a densely populated city, you’ll likely be exposed to the flu much more frequently than someone living rurally. Play with the interactive grids on this page to see how things like immunity, location, and transmission rates affect the spread of infectious diseases like the seasonal flu. Check out the charts under “Immunity” and “Cities and network density”.
Bonus: You Can Help Fight the Flu by Joining a Vaccine Clinical Trial 💉
Meridian is enrolling for numerous vaccine studies. Participants in these studies may receive investigational vaccines and, in some cases, an FDA-approved vaccine at no cost. Eligible participants may also receive compensation for time and travel.
Find a study near you at mcrmed.com/find-study.