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10 Misconceptions About the Flu

March 10, 2014
by Patrick J. Kiger
How Stuff Works (Discovery Communications)

Millions of Americans get seasonal influenza, commonly called the flu, a contagious viral infection that attacks your respiratory system, including the nose, throat and lungs [source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].

And the flu is nasty stuff. Each year, more than 200,000 Americans get so sick that they have to be hospitalized, and in a bad flu season, close to 50,000 people may die from flu-related illnesses [source:CDC]. Additionally, the flu costs the U.S. economy more than $10 billion in medical expenses and another $16 billion in lost earnings [source: Trust for America's Health].

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