But a few selfless people have signed up to become infected, so one day, maybe we won't have to endure it again – and they also get paid.
Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases infect those with influenza A (the infamous H1N1 virus that caused the pandemics) and carefully monitor their symptoms to better understand how the virus works and how to control it.
For a beautiful sum of up to $ 3,300, 80 adult participants in four research establishments they will receive a nasal spray with the virus and spend at least one week in a hospital until they stop "throwing" the virus – that is, potentially infecting others.
As volunteers cough, lift, sleep, and tremble, researchers hope to understand how levels of existing flu antibodies will affect the duration and severity of participants' flu symptoms.
The study continues until May (the long end of the typical influenza season) at Vaccine Research Units at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the Vaccine Development Center at St. Louis University in Missouri, Duke University in North Carolina and the Children's City of Zinczi Hospital Medical Center.
Flu can be fatal
Understanding how flu works is vital to defeating it: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 36 400 died from flu in the US up to 61,200 people between October 2018 and May 2019 and more than half a million were hospitalized.
Influenza can become lethal when other infections are involved, when it worsens another state of health or when there is an excessive immune response to the infection. It is associated with serious complications including pneumonia, heart attack and sepsis. Although annual influenza vaccines are not unconditional – scientists and doctors can't be sure which strain to control each flu season – they are the best way to avoid the infection and stop it from spreading. Influenza infected people can treat it with antiviral drugs that reduce its duration and severity.