Flu Took Serious Toll in 2012-2013, Walgreens Survey Finds

Published Online: Friday, November 8, 2013
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The 2012-2013 flu season in the United States was among the most severe in more than a decade, with 2 to 3 times the impact of a normal flu season in terms of missed work, school, and vacations, according to a report released by Walgreens on October 16, 2013.

The report finds that US adults missed 230 million workdays and children missed more than 90 million school days during the 2012-2013 flu season due to flu-related illness. By comparison, adults missed 100 million workdays and children missed 32 million school days in the 2010-2011 flu season, the last to be covered by a similar Walgreens report.

In addition, the report estimates flu-related costs to employers in 2012-2013 at $30.4 billion, nearly triple the $10.5 billion cost in 2010-2011, and employees lost more than $8.5 billion in wages due to missed work. Flu activity peaked in December last season, and Americans missed 17 million holiday events and 11 million vacations due to flu in 2012-2013, compared with 4.7 million missed holiday events and 3.6 million missed vacations in 2010-2011.

The report was based on a survey conducted between August 27 and September 4, 2013, with 1200 nationally representative adults 18 years and older.

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The Walgreens Flu Index™ is a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and ranking of those experiencing the highest incidences of influenza across the country. With the ability to generate hyper-local data that’s as specific as a single zip code, the Index aims to drive consumer awareness and prevention within communities, while also serving as a valuable resource for health departments, media and others at the local level.
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