NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — The flu caused Americans to miss 100 million workdays and $6.8 billion in wages last year, according to a survey from Walgreens.
The survey also found that influenza led to 32 million missed school days last year. Walgreens says between missed workdays, child care costs, doctor visits and other related costs, the flu cost nearly one-third of respondents between $251 and $1,000 last year.
Results are based on interviews with 1,200 Americans age 18 or over nationwide conducted between Sept. 1-8. Projections incorporate data available for average compensation and hours worked from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and population data and projections from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The illness also cost companies $10 billion in lost productivity related to employer-paid sick days.
While this number pales in comparison with the cost of insomnia ($63.2 billion) and long-term care obligations ($33.6 billion), Walgreens discovered it could actually be much worse; 80% of respondents said they went to work anyway despite doctors’ recommendations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13% of the U.S. population gets the flu every year, with active flu seasons affecting more than 62 million Americans.
To minimize exposure, the CDC recommends anyone six months or older get their annual flu shot. It also advises pregnant women to get vaccinated.
Where can you get vaccinated? MainStreet rounds up some places that let you bypass a trip to the doctor’s office.
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