If you’re old enough to remember the bad old days of 2017-2018, you may recall it was the worst flu season in about a decade.
While it’s too soon to tell if the 2019-2020 flu season will see a repeat of that devastating winter, some of the early indicators aren’t encouraging. Australia’s flu season, for instance, was especially nasty this year, and health officials in the United States have already reported three deaths due to the flu.
Early tracking of flu cases is key to containing outbreaks, and Walgreens has a tool that helps you do just that. The pharmacy chain has just released its first monthly flu index along with an interactive map that shows which areas of the country are being hardest hit. According to the data, October saw increased activity across parts of the South when compared to the same period last year. Here are the worst areas so far:
- Lafayette, Louisiana
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Montgomery-Selma, Alabama
- Laredo, Texas
- Waco-Temple-Bryan, Texas
- Victoria, Texas
- Tyler-Longview, Texas
- Las Vegas, Nevada
The Walgreens index, which sources data from prescriptions, was first launched six flu seasons ago. This is the first year that the tool allows you to directly compare flu activity with the previous season, which will come in handy as the flu season progresses and health officials seek to learn if we’re due for another repeat of 2017-2018. You can check out the index and interactive map here.
Now go get that flu shot!