COLUMBIA — Although the idea of standing in line for a flu shot may not seem enticing, people should be aware of the alternatives before making their decision.
The flu can lead to further complications, such as ear infections, chronic illness and dehydration, according to a Columbia/Boone County Health Department news release.
The American Lung Association Web site says that viral-related illnesses, such as the flu, account for 50 percent of pneumonia occurrences.
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that on average, 200,000 Americans are hospitalized with flu-related complications each year. The study also found that the amount of those infected with the flu has steadily increased over the years.
The costs of getting the flu can differ depending on your age. Those who are 60 years old or older are at the greatest risk of dying from the flu, according to a Health Department news release.
“Less than 50 percent of folks over 65 are getting flu shots,” said Chris Coffman, public health nurse supervisor for the health department
Coffman also said that due to their underdeveloped immune systems, children are at high risk of developing the flu.
Coffman said the flu is spread through coughing, so it can spread rapidly if people do not take precautions, such as covering their mouths and washing their hands.