1 – The Spanish Flu is the most well-known pandemic of the flu
It took out anywhere from 40 to 100 million people from 1918 to 1920. It was so severe that it registered a Level 5 on the Pandemic Severity Scale, which is the highest level that exists. The mortality rate was incredibly high – some estimates say up to 20 percent. People that got it and survived, though, include FDR, Walt Disney, Mary Pickford, General Pershing and Woodrow Wilson.
2 – You can treat the flu.
Within 48 hours of contracting it, a doctor can prescribe antiviral medicine that will help. It’s not going to get rid of it entirely, but it will lessen the time that you’re curled up on the couch, watching bad daytime T.V. and wanting to die.
3 – In the U.S. alone, the flu season results in 36,000-ish deaths
And 200,000 hospitalizations. As if those facts weren’t painful enough, the flu costs Americans a collective $10 billion annually.
4 – – While we have the Freshman 15, the Brits have Freshers Flu.
Up to 90 percent of people during their first few weeks at college end up getting sick, and whether it’s actually the flu or not (it’s usually just a cold), the nickname has a nice ring to it
5 – People who say they have the “stomach flu” probably don’t really have the flu
It’s just a nickname that came about because you feel crappy in similar ways to the real flu. But, WebMD says, if you don’t have fever or body ache, you likely don’t have the flu – just a gastrointestinal virus of some sort.
6 – The flu vaccine can’t give you the flu
The vaccines only contain a dead piece of the flu virus, and a dead virus can’t infect you. There is a nasal vaccine that contains a live virus, but that particular vaccine is designed to seek and destroy the part of the virus that actually makes you sick.
7 – This one is Snopes-verified – Donald Rumsfeld owns stock in Gilead Sciences, the company that makes Tamiflu
Tamiflu, for those that don’t know (I didn’t), is a drug that can reduce the severity of the flu. Some people think this is a big conspiracy theory – that the avian flu and other strains have become a huge deal in recent years because the government, including Rumsfeld, wanted to make a tidy profit from his stocks. Seems a little farfetched to me, but… who knows?
8 – The flu has been around for a loooong time
Hippocrates wrote of an illness with a description closely matching today’s modern flu symptoms
9 – The most recent flu pandemic was the Hong Kong Flu
In 1968-69, which registered as a Level 2 on the Pandemic Severity Index. About 500,000 people were infected in Hong Kong, about 50 million were infect in the U.S. Around 34,000 of those 50 million died.
10 – Recently (September), Sir Mark Sykes of England was dug up
Scientists could study the Spanish Flu virus, hoping to understand more about the current bird flu. Even though Sykes has been six feet under for the past 90 years, the fact that he was buried in a lead coffin makes scientists hope that the virus has been preserved.