Almost all of us have had the flu at least once, so it's often thought of as a non-serious illness, but it's very different from a simple head cold.
"The top reason that we come across is that people think the flu is not a big deal," said Dr. Virginia Roth, medical director of the infection prevention and control program at the Ottawa Hospital.
But every year about 10 to 20 per cent of Canadians get influenza, 20,000 people are hospitalized because of the flu, and 4,000 die, according to Toronto Public Health.
Even those who avoid the most serious complications can miss work or school, which hits the economy. The Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness and Promotion estimates that influenza cost's the country's economy about half a billion dollars each year. And the symptoms that come along with the flu including fever, muscle aches, coughing, and fatigue are just plain miserable to deal with.
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