• Together, influenza (the flu) and pneumonia (the most common complication of flu) are the fifth leading cause of death among Americans over the age of 65 and the sixth leading cause of death among all Americans.1

  • The cost to the nation in direct and indirect healthcare costs and loss of earnings due to illness and death as a result of flu and pneumonia in 1995 totaled $22.9 billion.2

  • People most at risk for serious complications from the flu include anyone over 65, as well as adults and children with pre-existing chronic lung disease, such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and other chronic diseases.3

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 35-50 million Americans are infected with the flu during flu season, which typically lasts from November to March.4

  • Children are two-to-three times more likely than adults to get sick with the flu, and children more frequently spread the virus to others.5

  • Although most people recover from the illness, the CDC estimates that in the United States more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and more than 20,000 people die from the flu and its complications every year.6

  • Because schools are an excellent place for flu viruses to attack and spread, families with school-age children have more infections than other families, with an average of one-third of the family members infected each year.7

  • According to a new study conducted by the American Lung Association’s Asthma Clinical Research Centers (ACRC), influenza vaccines are safe for children and adults with asthma.8
  • COLD

  • According to some estimates, people in the United States suffer 1 billion colds annually.9

  • Children have about 6-8 colds a year. In families with children in school, the number of colds per child can be as high as 12 a year.10

  • Adults average 2-4 colds a year, although the range varies.11

  • Women, especially those aged 20-30 years, have more colds than men, possibly because of their closer contact with children.12

  • On average, individuals older than 60 have fewer than one cold a year.13

  • The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) estimates that in 1996, 62 million cases of the common cold in the United States required medical attention or resulted in restricted activity.14

  • According to NCHS, in 1996, colds caused 45 million days of restricted activity and 22 million days lost from school.15

  • More than 200 different viruses are known to cause the symptoms of the common cold.16

  • Rhinoviruses (small, nonenveloped viruses that contain a single-strand ribonucleic acid genome)17 cause an estimated 30-35 percent of all adult colds and are most active in early fall, spring and summer. More than 110 distinct rhinovirus types have been identified.18

  • Coronaviruses (a class of large, enveloped ribonucleic acid viruses) are believed to cause a large percentage of all adult colds. They induce colds primarily in the winter and early spring. Of the more than 30 isolated strains of coronaviruses, three or four infect humans. The importance of coronaviruses as causative agents is hard to assess because, unlike rhinoviruses, they are difficult to grow in the laboratory.19

  • Approximately 10-15 percent of adult colds are caused by viruses also responsible for other, more severe illnesses. Among them are: adenoviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, orthomyxoviruses (including influenza A and B viruses), paramyxoviruses (including several parainfluenza viruses), respiratory syncytial virus and enteroviruses.20

  • The causes of 30-50 percent of adult colds, presumed to be viral, remain unidentified. The same viruses that produce colds in adults appear to cause colds in children. The relative importance of various viruses in pediatric colds, however, is unclear because of the difficulty in isolating the precise cause of symptoms in studies of children with colds.21
  • 1 American Lung Association, June 1996
    2 American Lung Association, October 1999
    3 American Lung Association, May 1998
    4-7 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, March 2001
    8 New England Journal of Medicine, 2001
    9-13 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, March 2001
    14-15 National Center for Health Statistics, 1996
    16 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, March 2001
    17 E Medicine, www.emedicine.com, December 2001
    18-21 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, March 2001

    Flu and Cold Resources:

  • American Lung Association® Offers Free Booklet Featuring New Guidelines for Influenza and the Common Cold January 2002

  • Flu and Cold: Statistics January 2002

  • Flu and Cold: Frequently Asked Questions January 2002

  • Flu and Cold: Myth Vs. Fact Sheet January 2002

  • Flu and Cold: Linda B. Ford, M.D. Bio January 2002

  • ACRC Abstract: Safety of Inactivated Influenza Vaccine In Children and Adults with Asthma January 2002


    - extracted from: http://lungusa.org/press/lung_dis/asn_c&f_1802b.html