Influenza can bring headaches, fever, nasal and chest congestion, a sore throat and body aches. It is true the flu is simply miserable for some and dangerous for the elderly and those in high-risk categories. Which states in the U.S. are hit hardest by the flu? Here are just five states expected to experience a hard flu season.
According to Medscape.com New Hampshire reported the first case of the H1N1 flu virus for the 2013-2014 flu season. Once the flu appears, health care officials usually make widespread efforts to inform the public by telling them to head to retail clinics offering the flu shot and get vaccinated immediately. The flu shot for the 2013-2014 season is recommended for all people six month of age or older.
Indiana has reported 14 cases of the H3H2 flu virus so far in 2013 and urgent care clinics are preparing to handle vaccines as needed. In prior flu seasons, approximately 2.4 percent of the mid-west population were hit by the flu including the states of Michigan, Ohio and Illinois. The best bet for steering clear of flu season is to find a walk-in clinic location that offers the influenza shot and get the entire family vaccinated.
Eastern states like Pennsylvania that contain cities with highly populated areas like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are always at a higher risk for getting the flu; approximately two percent of the population will catch the flu. In fact, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, there were over 44,000 documented cases of the flu during hte 2012-2013 flu season. States like New York and New Jersey are also counted as high-risk flu states.
With large cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Beverly Hills and San Diego it’s easy to see why western states have seen 2.4 percent of the population invaded by the flu in previous flu seasons according to Gallup WellBeing. This 2013-2014 flu vaccine, which anyone can obtain by visiting nearby urgent care clinics is made up of three viruses:
- The A/California – 2009 (H1N1) flu virus
- The A/Victoria (H3N2) – 2011 virus
- The B/Massachusetts – 2012 virus4
A quadruple flu shot is also available that contains all the above plus the B/Brisbane – 2008 flu virus. In addition, California boasts a high Latino population and this popular is 6.2 percent more likely to get the flu.
Southern states are the lowest on the list for getting the flu at only 1.8 percent, yet again, Texas also has large cities from Dallas to Houston to Fort Worth to Arlington to Austin to Galveston. The larger the population, the more chance of exposure, so health authorities are highly recommending the flu shot for everyone in the state of Texas, especially since Texas also contains a high Latino population.
State Flu Statistics and What the CDC Says
The flu season is most common during October through March of the following year and many walk-in clinics already have the recommended vaccines as do state health departments. The CDC says the flu and where it will be most wide-spread varies from flu season to flu season so it’s hard to predict the states that will be hit hardest by the flu this year. For example, in the 2010 season, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama were all hit hard by the flu.
Family care physicians can best tell you if your state is seeing high flu levels, however, those who fall in the high-risk group should always get vaccinated. These include the elderly (65 and older), school-aged children, pregnant women and those with heart or kidney disease. People with diabetes or those with asthma should also receive the influenza vaccine. If you’re unsure if you fall in a high-risk category, ask a professional.
While it is best to get a flu shot early in the season (before the end of October) at your doctors or local retail clinic, if you or a family memeber experience flu symptoms, do a web search for “urgent care near me” and find the closest walk-in clinic to get checked out.
About the Author
Jacob Anderson is a freelance journalist from Scottsdale, Arizona who writes for a variety of health and wellness blogs and periodicals.