(CNN) – In addition to the sneezing, the coughing, the aches and the misery, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the flu carries an economic toll for the nation every year. That includes 10.4 billion dollars in direct medical expenses, and 16.3 billion in lost earnings for sick employees.
The flu can be particularly costly for households with young children, who are most likely to become infected with the flu virus, the CDC says. They found that caregivers of children sick with the flu took on medical expenses between 304,000 dollars, depending upon the severity of the illness.
For kids and adults, fighting fall and winter colds and flu can be made easier by putting certain items in the grocery cart:
- Yogurt’s live cultures can help prevent colds
- Mushrooms show promise in boosting immunity
- Water and other fluids can help clean a cold out of your system
- Hot peppers and spices can help clear sinuses
- Honey can soothe an irritated throat.
Flu season typically peaks between January and March, but the CDC warns the flu is unpredictable, and timing varies every year. That’s why they recommend getting a vaccine now, in the fall.