The flu may be only slightly above normal in most of the country, but several regions of the country are expected to be experiencing high levels of cold and influenza symptoms over the next couple of weeks, according to a new report.
WebMD predicts the Southern, Pacific and Midwest regions will be hit hard with symptoms of fever, sore throat and cough between December 25 and December 31. The health service developed a cold and flu map for the holiday season using a combination of geo-location data and self-reported information. Go to WebMd for the full interactive map.
The top five cities predicted to be most affected by cold and flu symptoms are:
1. Charleston, South Carolina
2. San Diego
3. Minneapolis/St. Paul
4. Austin, Texas
5. Richmond, Virginia
The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Information found minimal flu activity across the country, except for widespread infections in Puerto Rico. Rhode Island reported no flu activity as of the week ending Dec. 10.
But as millions travel nationwide for the holidays, exposure to more cold and flu germs is likely. Knowing where the germs are spreading can help you take steps to protect yourself.
In early November, only 2 out of 5 adults and children in the U.S. had been vaccinated against the flu, about the same as last year, according to the CDC. There's still time to get the shot — the flu usually peaks between December and February but can continue to spread as late as May.