This year's especially dangerous flu season is far from over, and if you are anxiously wondering if your family might catch it, where you live makes a difference.
According to DoctorsReport.com, a new website that gives people immediate access to data pooled from nearly a million doctor's offices across the nation, released a list of the 14 biggest influenza hot spots in the US.
The list, which was created using doctor-diagnosed and reported cases of the flu over the past week, was ranked using an "illness severity scale" between 0 and 10, 10 being the most severe.
As you'll see, Minneapolis and Charlotte are dealing with the most severe levels of flu outbreaks, but those living in Dallas, Chicago, and Detroit aren't much safer:
- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI – 9.5
- Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC – 9.5
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA – 9.0
- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA – 9.0
- Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN – 8.0
- Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL – 7.5
- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD – 7.0
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV – 7.0
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX – 6.5
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA – 6.0
- Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD – 5.5
- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI – 5.0
- Pittsburgh, PA – 5.0
- Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI – 4.5
Because the nation is seeing more of the Influenza A-H3N2 strain more than any other this year and because it's especially serious for infants, DoctorsReport also compiled a list of severity rankings for that category of the flu.
The five metro areas to watch out for with Influenza A are as follows:
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL – 8.5
- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA – 7.0
- Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD – 7.0
- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI – 6.0
- Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC – 6.0
If you live in any of the cities on either list, it's highly recommended that you ensure you've gotten the flu vaccine — even if you do get the flu, symptoms and duration will be tempered — and that you are doing everything to mitigate the spreading of germs, like washing your hands frequently, staying away from sick friends and family, and keeping away from others if you are unwell.