No More Sick Days: Study Says Adults Only Get the Flu Twice a Decade

If you’ve recently caught the flu you can now rest easy knowing odds are you won’t get it again for quite a while.

A new study by PLOS Biology has revealed that adults over the ago of 30 only get the flu twice every ten years.

The findings suggest that all other forms of horrible you may feel in between – complete with coughs, colds, and headaches – is the result of other bugs. The flu is a sneaky one, and the overused term of “flu like virus,” may be caused by other viruses, like coronaviruses and rhinoviruses.

Or, in some cases, a hangover. For days.  

All of this obviously makes it difficult to tell when it’s the real deal. 

Researchers from the UK, China, and the US analyzed blood samples from volunteers in Southern China, examining antibody levels against nine different flu strains that were passed around from 1968 to 2009. Virus-specific antibodies in the volunteers’ blood samples revealed how often that person had encountered the flu. 

The actual flu, that is.

The team also developed a mathematical model for how immunity to the flu changes over the years as people encounter different strains of the virus. The model showed – once again – that our immune responses to viruses caught earlier in life are often stronger than our responses to those encountered later in life.  

So, basically, calling in sick with the flu is no longer an option.


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