I've come across this neat infographic that explores the cost of influenza infection to the individual and to the country as a whole (here's the WHO factsheet on flu for more info). It really sends home the message of necessity of preventative and therapeutic options for treating these respiratory viruses.
Of course this can also be extended worldwide and to the other viruses that cause the same roughly the same symptoms as influenza, like Respiratory Syncytial Virus. There's a couple of differences when you extend this to other countries, namely the UK, thanks to our National Health Service where Doctor's visits and prescriptions are free.
Also in some countries it is good to remember that in some countries the fu season extends throughout the whole year. Despite some questions arising on the effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccines, they are better and safer than nothing so remember to get protected if you're at risk!
A review of Freeman Dyson's "Dreams of Earth and Sky"
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