Many people turn to the internet when they don’t feel well to find out what is wrong. They enter symptoms into Google and hope to self-diagnose their illness. But that’s never a good idea. Tap or click here to find out why you shouldn’t trust Google for health advice.
A better source for all things related to public health is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Regional warnings, important announcements, signs, symptoms and other best practices are available on its site.
Among its resources is a flu season tracker. This tool can ascertain whether you live in a high-risk area for influenza. Keep reading to learn how to use this helpful tool.
Is your area a flu hotspot this year?
Using the CDC’s flu tracker is as simple as visiting the site and scrolling down until you see the map. It’s a color-coded map of the U.S. Green states, statistically, are considered relatively low-risk for the flu. However, orange, red, and purple spell trouble for residents.
At the bottom of this page, you’ll also find a wealth of other helpful links, including flu prevention tips, profiles for those most vulnerable to respiratory illness and lots of useful statistics, including the CDC’s own FluView portal.
This surveillance report is a weekly run-down documenting positive flu tests and nationwide hospitalizations. Much like COVID-related tools of the last few years, the data can be eye-opening. Despite its ubiquity, the flu is no joke in many cases.
How to use the CDC Influenza Surveillance Report
Once on the CDC Influenza Surveillance Report page, click on the state option above the U.S. map. NOTE: It’s set to state by default so you might not need to click it.
Then you’ll see each state with its own color that shows how active influenza has been over the past week. Green means it’s minimal and purple means very high. If you click the state on the map where you live, it will take you to your local Department of Health Services for more information.
December, January and February are the months when most people fall ill. So we’re about to enter prime flu season.
Is the flu going to be worse this year than it was in years previously? Some experts believe it will be, so the CDC is going all-out regarding preventative strategies and info-sharing, including this excellent virtual map of high-risk areas.
The deep south appears to be the hardest hit out of the continental U.S. If you live in any of the states specified in purple, an extra dose of caution is advisable.
Check it out for yourself and modify your behavior accordingly. Sometimes staying well for the season is a simple matter of sheltering in place, COVID-style, while the rest of the community heals.