Days and Dollars Lost to the Flu Hit a Fever Pitch Last Season

Moeny Lost to the Flu Tallying up the flu's effect on our economy is enough to make you sick. Influenza was responsible for 100 million lost work days last flu season, according to a Walgreens (WAG) study released Wednesday. That's $7 billion in lost wages, and the two-thirds of the missed days that were employer-paid sick time sliced more than $10 billion off company productivity.

The survey also noted that 80% of workers showed up on the job despite having flu symptoms. If you're under pressure to shine at the office in the current wobbly employment market, would you miss a day?

The flu's role in diminished school attendance was nothing to sneeze at either, causing 32 million absences last year.

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The pharmacy chain announced the results of the study -- conducted by Vision Critical Springboard America from a sampling of 1,200 adults -- to tout its own flu shot program. Walgreens led retailers by dispensing 6.4 million doses last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Stores accounted for 20% of all flu vaccine sales last year, but considered the numbers to be lackluster, the newspaper added.

No Trouble Getting Vaccinated This Year

Flu season is coming, and 62 million Americans got hit by the virus during the peak period last year, the Centers for Disease Control reported.

There's certainly no problem with vaccine availability this year: More than 150,000 U.S. pharmacists have been certified to administer vaccines, the CDC said, and The Journal reported that the supply has been raised from 157 million doses in 2010 to 166 million.

Here's a price breakdown of big-chain flu shot costs (if they aren't covered by your health plan or offering a discount), according to a DailyFinance search, and The Wall Street Journal.

Flu Shot Costs

Target (TGT): $24.99
Walmart (WMT): $25
Rite-Aid (RAD): $27.99
CVS (CVS): $29.99
Winn-Dixie (WINN): $29.99
Walgreens: $31.99

And remember: The CDC advises everyone older than 6 months to get a flu vaccine, unless they're allergic to it. Injection or nasal spray versions are available, depending on the venue.

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