The Cost of Getting The Flu (Infographic)

With flu season mostly behind us, this infographic assess the financial impact to individuals and the economy that results each year from the common virus. This latest infographic, “The Cost of Getting the Flu,” covers flu expenditures from the individual to the nation. Detailing the costs to an average person getting the flu, the cost to businesses each season, the costs to the US economy, and the potentially detrimental costs in the event of a massive flu pandemic, the graphic calls for more action in flu prevention and shows you what you can do to prepare and get better for less.

From an average annual $35 flu shot for individuals to a staggering $87.1 billion taken out of the US economy each year as a result of flu season, the costs covered by this graphic take the individual’s plight to the national level. “The Cost of Getting the Flu” shows how sick days add up, reducing the workforce and what kinds of financial consequences can result to businesses and the economy, most of which are rarely discussed during flu season.

As we wind down our worries about catching the flu, it’s worthwhile to remember that there are many measures that can be taken to reduce your risk of getting the flu next year, saving your health and money.

Let us know what you think in the comments below and as always, feel free to embed the graphic on your page and spread the knowledge around.


    • Those statements are quite misleading, and simply, no, vaccines are actually one of most beneficial interventions in human history. The science is overwhelmingly in support of this fact (the majority of which is very objective non-industry work). We are currently experiencing unprecedented resurgences of previously controlled childhood diseases, such as whooping cough, measles, mumps, and other long “dead” diseases, due to the spread of irresponsible propaganda like autism frauds and the like. I have also had the profound sorrow of watching young healthy people die within days of confirmed influenza. I’m also a personal supporter of healthy low-/no-meat diets and exercise, responsible herbals, phytonutrients (from plants, not capsules), and a fairly old-fashioned intervene-only-when-truly-beneficial approach to medicine. So I don’t speak from a one-sided or black-and-white point of view. That’s more than I can say for most of the firmly entrenched anti-vaccination and conspiracy theorists.

    • I tend to agree with Lara. It is always a guessing game, and you might not even be exposed to the strain that your shot is good for. Then, you can add the cost of the shot that didn’t work to your whole “cost of recovery” tally as well.

      The last time I got a flu shot, I ended up getting the flu within DAYS of getting the shot- that was 10 years ago, and I haven’t gotten the shot, or the flu except once since.

      And, I didn’t have insurance, but I didn’t spend anywhere near $130 to treat myself. I drank plenty of water and juice (which I do anyway, so no extra $$ there), I did not go to the doctor because I knew they would tell me there’s nothing to do but treat the symptoms, so my only expenses were a box of Puffs tissues (about $2) and a bottle of ibuprofen (about $3). Nowhere near $130.

  1. I know it seems like getting the flu vaccine is not worth it, but I look at it as an insurance policy that reduces the risk of having to spend all that money to recover from the flu.

  2. Eat REAL food (absolutely NO processed or frozen foods), staying away from vaccines (the worst crime perpetrated on mankind), NEVER consume white sugar, white flour or regular white table salt and getting proper sleep, exercise, and rest times is essential to good health. In addition, smoking and alcohol brings down the body’s immune system. Sugar is in most things (store bought salad dressings, some yogurts, etc… ALWAYS read labels and get away from white sugar!!!). If in the US know where your meat comes from… most meat in the US has hormones and your milk is tainted with hormones.

    Info on the evils of vaccines:

    Dr. Shiv Chopra used to work for Health Canada (the equivalent of the FDA) and he, with 5 others had morals and told us what REALLY is going on with vaccines.

    • But the question remains, how many people with weak or immunocompromised systems (children, the elderly, anyone with autoimmune diseases such as HIV) did you unknowingly pass the flu on to? And did they all survive the attack? Just food for thought.

  3. You missed the most expensive part of getting the flu – especially for hourly (non-exempt) employees. An emplyee making $18/hr who misses 3 days of work (24 hours) has lost $432 in wages or used $432 in sick time/PTO as a result of the flu. Same with a parent who has to stay home to take care of a kid who is sick with the flu. This is even worse for someone who is self-employed who does not have sick time/PTO to use and who generates no business income when not able to work.

    Most people won’t see the doctor for the flu – they’ll use OTC pain reliever/fever reducer (Tylonol, Advil), a symptom reliver (Nyquil) and a box of tissues for only $15 of out-of-pocket expenses. There is no real prescription medication for fully developed flu.

    So the real cost of the flu is the cost of missed work – which can be devastating to a person working paycheck-to-paycheck to be able to pay the rent and buy groceries. So the real question isn’t whether you can afford to get a flu shot, it is whether you can afford not to get a flu shot.

    The real expense comes from the lost wages from the hours not worked.

  4. I think it’s obvious vaccines have small risks, but the benefits far outweigh the possible risks. Thank you for such an interesting infographic on this controversial topic.