Billions of dollars lost each year.

Position:Flu Costs

Last flu season resulted in 100,000,000 lost workdays, along with nearly $700,000,000,000 in foregone wages, and 32,000,000 missed school days, according to a survey by Walgreens, Deerfield, III., the largest provider of flu shots outside of the Federal government. This "Flu Impact Report" underscores the ramifications the flu and ill-timed illness can have beyond people's health--from missed work and lost income to parenting challenges.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga., on average, 13% of the U.S. population gets the flu every year, with active flu seasons seeing closer to 20%, or more than 62,000,000 Americans. "When it comes to the flu and your own personal calendar, there's no planning for the many things it could impact," says Kermit Crawford of Walgreens, president of pharmacy, health, and wellness. "Immunization rates have been climbing and last season more than 40% of the U.S. population received flu shots."

More than one-third of lost workdays were uncompensated, resulting in $6,800,000,000 in lost wages. As for employers, nearly two-thirds of total missed workdays were employer-paid, resulting in a cost of more than $10,000,000,000 to companies' bottom...

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