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Influenza Puts A Big Hurt On U.S. Economy

Productivity’s Public Enemy No. 1 will cost country 100 million lost work days, 32 million school days and $10.4B in hospitalizations this year

Influenza is a freight train that breaks for no one, especially wallets.

The high cost of the flu is as miserable as the sickly hurt its puts on millions of Americans each year. The numbers will even make Warren Buffett cringe.

Influenza will cost the United States economy 100 million missed work days, which carries a price tag of $7 billion in sick days and lost productivity, according to Market Watch. The flu will send the country’s economy another $10.4 billion bill for hospitalizations and outpatient visits, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention statistics. We haven’t even gotten to the cost of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.

Additionally, we can’t overestimate the long-term costs of the 32 million lost school days Walgreens reports influenza takes from America’s students each year, or the immense mental strain it inflicts on the country’s women as they deal with annoying sick husbands.

And you thought your $200-per-hour contractor was expensive.

Jokes aside, it’s the lost work pay that puts the worst hurt on lower-income Americans who don’t get compensated for sick days, a national average of $212.40 per lost day, per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The lower the income, the higher the impact of missing work will be on your finances if you’re not getting paid for it,” certified financial planner Chris Chen, a wealth strategist with Insight Financial Strategists, told CNBC.com.

In many cases, costly flu hospitalizations could have been prevented with a simple trip to the drug store or a doctor’s office and an quick, affordable investment in our best defense against influenza: The flu vaccine. For with proper prevention, the USA can drastically slash the number of hospitalizations, missed days of work and complications associated with the flu including death.

“The true cost of getting the flu will vary from one individual’s circumstance to another, but is often far greater than the cost of getting a seasonal flu vaccine,” writes Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents.

The Kaiser Family Foundation pegs the average daily cost of a U.S. Hospital stay at $2,271. On average, a flu shot costs $45 without insurance. Still, the CDC reports less than half of Americans receive the flu shot annually.

Remember, it’s never too late in the season to invest in flu insurance.

“You protect yourself with insurance for other risks,” Chen said. “The flu shot is like insurance.

“The low or free cost of the shot is one of the great deals of everyday living, given what it can cost if you get the flu.”

For the cost of getting the flu is immensely greater than a dose of prevention.

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