How Many People Die Each Year From the Flu? 

By Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Table of Contents


The viral flu epidemic is just beginning to take hold, but we’re ready. We’ve been tracking the spread of this outbreak since the beginning, and we’ve seen how it has affected people from all walks of life. 

We know what it’s like to be sick with the virus and it’s not fun at all! The viral flu is a respiratory illness that affects the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause a fever, sore throat, coughing, and body aches. Patients are usually kept away from school or work for at least 24 hours. 

The viral flu incidence is still high, but it’s not as bad as it was. It’s been causing a lot of problems, but there is some good news out there too. 

The good news is that the number of people who have gotten sick has slowed down. In fact, only about 3% of the population has gotten sick so far this year, compared to 6% last year and 10% in 2010. 

The bad news is that there are still more than 100 people being treated for the virus each day in hospitals around the country, and that number is expected to rise steadily over the coming days and weeks as more people continue to get sick.

When it comes to flu season, we’re all feeling it. 

We know that you’ve been doing your best to stay healthy, but sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. That’s why we want to make sure you know what you can do to protect yourself during this season.

Flu Basics

Influenza is a respiratory infection caused by many different viruses. It’s usually transmitted by breathing in the virus. The flu can make you feel sick, but it’s not a serious illness.

There are many different types of viruses that cause the flu, including the A-H1N1 virus and H5N1 (avian influenza).

There are also seasonal viruses that are related to the flu but do not actually cause it. These include RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which can cause symptoms like colds and coughs in young children.

Influenza viruses are spread through droplets expelled from an infected person’s mouth or nasal secretions when they cough or sneeze.

The virus can also be transmitted by touching surfaces that have been contaminated with saliva or mucus from an infected person, such as door knobs or doorknobs.

People who are sick should wear masks when they come into contact with others and avoid touching their eyes or nose while coughing or sneezing.

Symptoms of the Viral Flu

Symptoms of human influenza include

  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Fever, chills, and rigors
  • Exhaustion
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nausea, Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

People with weak immune systems are at a higher risk of death from the flu; children, elderly people, and pregnant women are most at risk. 

You might be contagious when you’re having flu symptoms. 

If you have a cough, the virus can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.

The virus can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours after an infected person has touched them. So, if you touch a sink or countertop that has recently been touched by someone else, you may be exposing your family members. 

Influenza Virus Causes 

The common cold is caused by a virus, which means it can make you sick. But some viruses are more contagious than others.

For instance, body fluids such as saliva and vomit can carry these viruses long distances. 

The flu is caused by a different type of virus than the cold: Influenza viruses come in two types: A and B. 

The influenza virus spreads through coughs and sneezes as well as contact with infected people or animals. 

It’s highly contagious and very dangerous for young children, seniors, pregnant women, and people who have compromised immune systems or chronic conditions such as asthma (which makes them more susceptible to influenza infections). 

The flu virus is usually spread by droplets from the nose and mouth. You can also get it by touching things that have been touched by someone who has the flu; say, a computer keyboard or door handle at work (or in your home). 

Flu Treatment 

Do you feel like your body is just not getting it right when it comes to the flu? You might be missing out on a few key things that can help you manage the symptoms. Here are some of the most effective ways to treat viral  

  • Drink lots of water and warm liquids like soup, beverages, and fresh juices. 
  • Take extra vitamin C or E supplements 
  • Get plenty of rest (so you can keep your immune system strong). 
  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet (which will reduce stress on your body); rich in Vitamin C and E 
  • Taking a hot shower might help loosen congestion in your airways.
  • In the case of a more severe cold, over-the-counter medications can help alleviate symptoms. 
  • Avoid alcohol use and smoking. 
  • Clean your environment.

However, there is no cure for the common cold, and the best way to prevent its spread is to get vaccinated. 

Over-the-counter Medication 

Antihistamine: loratadine, cetirizine


Pain killers: Ibuprofen, Tylenol, naproxen 

Prescribed Medicines 



Flu Vaccine

An annual flu shot will prevent you from going into severe respiratory illness from the flu. 

Average Viral Flu Deaths 

More than 1,500 people die from the flu every year in the U.S., and while the number of cases has been decreasing, it’s still a significant problem. The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months old Submit flu shot, especially if they are at high risk for complications due to the flu. 

The average age of people who die from the flu is between 60 and 70 years old. Each year, about 800 children under 5 die from influenza-related complications. 

The CDC announced a death rate of 1400 to 4200 deaths in the USA for the years 2021–2022. 

People with heart or lung disease are at higher risk for severe complications during an influenza pandemic because their immune systems may not be able to fight off infection as well as healthy adults. 

People with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or asthma may also be at increased risk because their immune systems may be compromised already. 

In addition to being older adults, people who have recently been hospitalized or had surgery are also at higher risk for death because they’re more likely to have underlying conditions like heart disease or diabetes. 

These people are more susceptible to serious symptoms like dehydration and breathing problems. 

Ten years back, there was an annual death rate of 22,000 to 51,000, which has been reduced significantly due to proper hand hygiene and distancing practices in the USA. 

The global annual death rate from influenza is around 2,90,000 to 6,50,000. 

The high-risk category of getting influenza pneumonia includes,

  • Young children less than 5 years old and the elderly over 65 years
  • Pregnancy 
  • Chronic diseases (Asthma, COPD) 
  • Immunosuppressive conditions (Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Diabetes) 
  • People who are stressed about specific ailments in their bodies and recovering from them have low immunity and are more prone to getting influenza. 
  • People living in care facilities or hospices 
  • Obesity; BMI of more than 30 kgm-2 
  • People who have unhygienic practices

Prevention Tips for the Flu

The flu is a nasty infection that can cause extreme fatigue, headaches, and fever. But there are ways to fight back against it! 

Read on for our top tips on how to beat the flu:

  • Start with a good probiotic. Probiotics help fight off bad bacteria in your gut, which can help you fight off the flu. 
  • Get some rest. Studies have shown that people who get plenty of sleep tend to be less likely to catch the flu. 
  • Eat more fluids! Fluids like water and broth are especially important if you’re feeling dehydrated or hungry. This will help your body stay well-hydrated and keep it functioning properly during the worst times of your illness (and hopefully prevent dehydration). 
  • Get the annual flu shot around September or October.

When to See the Doctor 

With the flu, you can’t always tell when it’s going to hit. 

So if you’re feeling sick with the flu, it’s important to know when to seek medical attention. 

You might be able to treat a few symptoms yourself, but if your symptoms are severe or persist for more than 48 hours, or if you have complications like those below, then it’s time to see your doctor. 

  • high fever
  • difficulty breathing
  • chest pain that increases with breathing
  • Severe headache

TeleHealthDoc articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Dr. Pallavi Sharma is one of Melbourne’s best, well respected cosmetic doctors and aims to provide longstanding anti-aging benefits for her clients. With over 11 years experience in Performing cosmetic procedures, Dr. Sharma has lectured medical professionals regarding cosmetic treatments and is heavily involved in providing up to date cosmetic treatments to her clients and friends.
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