Although you might feel ill more often than this, other flu-like infections are to usually blame, the international team says. Source, BBC.
A field study in China, published in the journal PLoS Biology, showed how scientists tested blood samples from 151 volunteers aged between seven and 81, to gauge how often flu infections strike.
They examined nine main strains of flu which were circulating around the globe between 1968 and 2009.
The researchers, from Imperial College London and institutes in the US and China, found that while the children got flu on average every other year, flu infections became less frequent with age.
From the age of 30 onwards, flu infections tended to occur at a steady rate of about two per decade in the people that they studied.
The researchers point out that their findings may not necessarily apply to populations in other countries. A similar study is planned in the UK. Gathering ground-breaking lifespan data of this type should help experts understand who is at risk of infection, and how often, as well as how far the disease spreads through communities.
I admit to quickly touching wood on the armrests of my study chair. I can only remember one or two cases of really severe flu. Once in the late 60s, what was referred to as the Asian flu in Australia laid me up for about two weeks and left me weak for years afterwards. The Hong Kong pandemic at around the same time killed one million people worldwide.
Viruses causing colds and flu can produce a temperature and sore throat, plus coughs and sneezes, which spreads the infection from person to person. It can be tricky to tell these diseases apart based on just subjective symptoms. One man's flu could be called a heavy head cold in a woman.
How to tell them apart? With a common cold, the symptoms tend to come on gradually, are usually milder and affect mostly the nose and the throat. Flu is a more severe illness that normally makes the individual want to take to their bed. The symptoms include aches and pains as well as a blocked or runny nose.
Although flu is unpleasant, most fit and healthy adults will survive, but it can cause serious complications in the elderly, and other people with chronic health conditions, such as asthma.
This is why experts recommend at-risk groups get a flu jab every year to protect themselves.
The local surgery has given me flu injections since the age of 65. I'm pleased to say I haven't caught the constantly mutating virus. Even the common cold has left me alone, which could be because I rarely meet anybody who unknowingly could pass misery on.