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New report: 75% of people with flu don’t have symptoms

INDIANAPOLIS — New research shows more than 75% of people with the flu don’t have any symptoms.

It sounds hard to believe, but Dr. Christopher Belcher, Director of Infectious Diseases at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, says it’s a fact.

“Yeah, you wouldn’t know,” said Dr. Belcher. “Some people absolutely can have influenza in their respiratory tract with no symptoms at all, although many times people dismiss it as either a cold or just not feeling well or having slept wrong that day.”

Doctors have always known asymptomatic flu is around, but had no idea it accounts for so many cases until now.

Dr. Belcher says there is good news and bad news.

“I’m glad if people are going to catch the flu, I’d rather they not have symptoms, but on the other hand, they may be able to spread it on to those who are very susceptible. People could spread influenza onto those who are very high risk, the elderly, the very young, or people who are sick with other medical conditions.”

The study did not take the flu shot into account.

“I would expect, although the study did not address it, people who’ve had the flu vaccine to be less likely to get influenza with symptoms.”

“Because you don’t know whether you’re going to have influenza virus or not, or any of these other respiratory viruses, people need to use common sense hygiene.”

Dr. Belcher says if you still want to get a flu shot, it’s not too late in Indiana.

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