Influenza: By the numbers

More than 100 million workdays are lost to the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Story highlights

  • More than 500,000 people visited hospitals for flu-like illness last week
  • The flu can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours
  • 111 million workdays are lost to the flu, as of 2011
This year's flu season, which began earlier than usual, is shaping up to be one of the worst in recent years, officials have said.
By the numbers, here's a look at the flu:
3: Types of seasonal influenza viruses: A, B and C.
62%: Effectiveness rate of this year's flu vaccine.
47: States reporting widespread flu activity during the week ending January 5.
554,313: Hospital visits for symptoms of "influenza-like illness" during the week ending January 5.
111 million: Workdays lost because of sick days relating to the flu, reported in 2011.
$4.6 billion: Direct cost of flu season in the United States, including doctors' visits, hospitalizations and prescriptions.
Less than 6 months: Age of a baby too young to receive a flu shot.
20: Number of pediatric deaths reported as of January 5.
48: Number of hours the flu virus can live on surfaces.
3.2: Percentage of people who told Gallup in December that they had the flu "yesterday." This is up from 2.8% the same time a year earlier.
20 seconds: Length of time you should scrub your hands when you wash, to remove germs and bacteria adequately.
60%: Recommended amount of alcohol necessary in hand sanitizers to kill germs.
5 feet: Possible radiated distance of the spray from a sneeze. Yuck!
Up to 65: Percent increase in facial tissue sales in the wintertime.