Online Flu Trackers 

Follow the bug

According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu season in the U.S. can kick off as early as October and linger through May—meaning that we're right smack in the middle of it. As of Dec. 30, 46 states, including Idaho, had reported "widespread" flu activity, and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare had tallied 13 flu-related deaths, including three in the district where Boise is located. Since the virus is airborne (the CDC reports flu can spread from person to person from up to six feet away) it's a good idea to keep track of who's sick. Luckily, there is a host of online resources ready to help.

For general information on the flu and its spread, it's hard to beat the CDC website, cdc.gov. Not only does it provide information on strains and vaccines, it also offers "FluView," a national flu surveillance network updated weekly, which includes interactive maps and graphs showing hospitalizations, mortality and geographic spread of the virus. A weekly "Situation Update" summarizes FluView, giving you all of the most important facts in one place.

Flunearyou.org compliments the government sites by offering a map of user-reported cases and symptoms, and locally, healthandwelfare.idaho.gov is an excellent resource for Idaho-specific flu data. Plus, vaccinefinder.org can help you locate a pharmacy giving flu shots close by.

Remember, if you want to stay happy and healthy this season, your best bet is to stay informed.

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