I was quite interested to hear that the CDC has said that the flu season has come early this year and seems to be “ramping up.”  For me, this seemed like a rather odd statement to make.  After all, right after Hurricane Sandy hit the New York and New Jersey area, I was convinced that the flu would swoop in and cause havoc and pandemonium. It didn’t. Actually, back when Sandy hit at the end of October, the CDC flu map showed relatively little activity.

But since then, as the headlines have said, the flu made a jump in cases and today, it’s sweeping the nation. Rather than tell this to you, I thought I would show it to you.

Thanks to the CDC Seasonal Flu website, there is a map that highlights where flu cases are being reported all over the country.  I’ve compiled the last month and a half summaries and put them into the figure below.


As you can see, the colours represent the level of infection in the different States.  From October 6 to November 24, the rate of flu went from practically nothing to covering over half the country.  Now that is a fast rate! But what does all this mean?  Well…

  1. The flu is coming so be prepared.
  2. If you are going to get the vaccine, make sure you do it soon.
  3. If you know that you will be travelling, make sure that you are aware of the situation and keep yourself at the ready for any signs of infected people (Granted, it’s not The Walking Dead but it’s still a pain to get sick whilst away from home)
  4. This isn’t a pandemic.  This is simply a more rapidly spreading flu that happens every now and then.  We’re not expecting to be plunged back into the days of 2009 when the ‘swine flu’ was around.

Over the coming weeks as we head to Christmas, we’ll learn more about the spread of this virus and whether or not we are going to see a long flu season or one that will burn itself out quickly.  Either way, no one should be overly concerned.  The flu season is as common as the change of the seasons.  Sometimes they happen just as anticipated and other times, they are unpredictable.

The key to staying healthy is to be sure to keep your eye on the great surveillance that is happening (for Canadians, use FluWatch) and be sure to adhere to the advice and recommendations at these websites.

And as always, if you have any questions, just ask them below.