The World Health Organization estimates that seasonal influenza infections are responsible for between 250,000 & 500,000 deaths annually, worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta this translates into between 3,300 & 49,000 influenza related deaths per year in the United States. Part of the reason for the wide range in deaths stems from the virulence of particular virus strains, with deaths increasing with the H2N3 strain. Those at greatest risk for experiencing problems related to influenza infection include health care workers, the elderly, young children, pregnant women and individuals with specific chronic medical conditions like asthma, AIDS, etc.
According to the CDC and WHO vaccination against seasonal influenza is the most effective way to prevent the disease. Influenza vaccines (“flu shots”) have been available for more than 50 years and have generally been found to be safe and effective. Other measures which may prove useful in preventing the illness includes avoiding sick contacts whenever possible, washing your hands, staying home if you are sick, covering your nose and mouth and practicing good/cleaning health habits. In addition there are a number of antiviral drugs on the market which licensed healthcare providers can prescribe to help treat influenza infection; but, timing is critical.
While the vast majority of those who receive the seasonal influenza vaccine experience no adverse reaction, adverse reactions to the flu shot do occur. If you think you or someone you know has been injured by a vaccine, compensation for the injury may be available.