Mapping Your Flu Season

It’s that time of year again – no, not football season or the holiday season… it’s flu season. Yuck! And this year’s influenza isn’t pardoning anyone, regardless of how many important, seasonal plans you’ve made.

Fever, chills, coughing, congestion, runny nose, headaches, body aches, and fatigue are just a few of the symptoms you could suffer. And with tons of baking, shopping and holiday preparations taking place, body aches and a fever are probably the last thing on your “to do” list.

To avoid falling victim, learn how much flu activity is going on in your community, and where it’s happening. But how do you do that?

Fortunately, Walgreens and Esri partnered together to bring you the Walgreens Flu Index. This ArcGIS platform uses retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across Walgreens locations to provide citizens with specific flu activity.

From tracking the top states with flu activity to providing information on flu shots, this story map covers everything citizens need to know about avoiding this year’s flu.

Track it. Use the story map to track where the flu is affecting the most people. This platform gives you lists of the top ten cities and states with the highest flu activity. Currently, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas are the top three infected states, with Miami, Knoxville, and Oklahoma City nearing the top of the most infected cities list.

For citizens who are more visual, the color-coded map enables users to view the severity of outbreaks across the country; green representing a low flu index and red representing a high flu index. The platform also includes a search option so citizens can view the flu index for their specific community and its surrounding areas.

Stay up-to-date. The flu is rapidly spreading so it’s important to know where it may go next. The story map updates its numbers about once a week to provide you with the most up-to-date flu index.

You can use the platform’s search feature to see how your city ranks among others that week. If your city isn’t ranked, it will provide you with the ranking of a city in close proximity to your location.

Defend yourself. Not only does the platform give you information about where the flu heavily resides, it also gives you information about fighting it. Not sure if you want to get a flu shot or where you can get one? No problem! The flu shot page of the story map highlights Walgreens locations that administer flu shots.

You can also learn more about the flu shot process. As the platform explains, first, the vaccine injects weakened flu germs into your body. Then, antibodies form to attack unwanted germs. So, if you are exposed to flu germs your body will then have the proper antibodies to defend against the actual virus.

To learn more about this year’s flu and its activity in your community, view the story map here.



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