The Grapevine

Flu Season 2019 Update: States Severely Affected By Virus Revealed

This year’s flu season is already affecting residents in several states. The federal government and doctors have been encouraging the public to consider getting vaccinated to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the infection. 

Pharmacy chain Walgreens recently released a report detailing the states with the most number of flu infection to date. Louisiana ranked first followed by Nevada, Texas, Mississippi and Florida in the top five affected areas. 

Walgreens used its internal prescription data for antiviral medications to see how the 2019 flu season is affecting residents across the country. The company's annual Flu Index also suggests flu activity is much higher this year than in 2018. 

"October data show southern states are experiencing more widespread flu activity this year," the company said in the report. "Index levels are higher in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma and Nevada."

Top 10 States Affected By Flu

  1. Louisiana
  2. Nevada
  3. Texas
  4. Mississippi
  5. Florida
  6. Alabama
  7. Tennessee
  8. Hawaii
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Arkansas

However, Walgreens noted the Flu Index only shows information on “which populations are experiencing the highest incidence of influenza within the U.S. and Puerto Rico each week." The report is "not intended to illustrate levels or severity of flu activity." 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the flu season in 2018 affected 37 million people and caused 36,000 deaths in the U.S. Prior to that year, the virus contributed to over 330,000 hospitalizations.

Despite the large number of Americans contracting the flu, public health officials said 43 percent of adults still avoid vaccine. The CDC said anyone six months or older should get a yearly flu shot to avoid infection and serious complications.

“In the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter months,” the CDC said. “Flu activity often begins to increase in October and November. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, and it can last as late as May.”

The agency noted the people who received a flu vaccine between July and August may have lower protection for this season compared to those who got vaccinated in late October. 

flu vaccine In 2018, flu sent more than 500,000 people to hospitals and caused 50,000 deaths across the U.S, but during a later stage in the season. Pixabay