It might be the holiday season, but it's also flu season. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) notes that cases of the virus peak between December and February. And health care providers have plenty of reason to be concerned, given that nearly 45 million Americans came down with the flu between October 2018 and February 2019.
But how much does location play a part in just how susceptible you are to falling ill? In an effort to examine this, ApartmentGuide.com took a look at the CDC's flu stats from the past six years. Let's take a look at their conclusions on the worst states for the flu.
Using the CDC's weekly flu season numbers from the past six years, specifically recorded in February, which is considered to be the absolute peak of peak flu season, ApartmentGuide.com then assigned weighted scores for minimal, low, moderate and high flu outbreak weeks in every state. They then added up the numbers to determine the 10 worst states for the flu ahead of the 2019-2020 flu season.
The Top 10 Worst States for Flu
According to ApartmentGuide.com's number-crunching, these are the 10 worst states for coming down with the virus.
10. New Mexico
According to the site, New Mexico was one of the first states to be hardest hit during the 2018-2019 flu season. They've also seen more “high" peak flu level weeks since 2013 than all but five other states and has rated “high" for 17 of the past 18 peak flu season weeks—more than any other state.
9. New Jersey
ApartmentGuide.com points out that while in past years, the flu had spread sporadically throughout the Garden State, levels this season seem to be affecting all regions of the state.
During the 2018-2019 season, flu patients filled more than 90 percent of hospital beds in seven of Alabama's eight public health districts, according to ApartmentGuide.com's report. And this year, as of October, every county in north Alabama showed an uptick in flu-related illness, and cases are expanding down to the Gulf.
Between 2013 and 2016, the flu danger level in Louisiana was rated at minimal, low or moderate 11 out of 12 weeks, the report notes. But since then, flu levels have jumped up to “high" 15 of the last 16 peak flu season weeks. This fall, Louisiana was already ranked with the highest level of flu cases in the U.S.
ApartmentGuide.com finds that last year, the peak of the flu season hit around the end of February, much later than in previous years in Mississippi. But year prior, peak struck around Christmas, a much more usual time for the state.That said, the state is vulnerable for early peak, late peak, or anytime in between.
Since 2013, Kansas has experienced 20 “high" condition flu season weeks, the fourth most of any state in the union, the report states.
In 2018-2019, flu-related deaths in the state of Arkansas were the highest in nearly two decades, according to ApartmentGuide.com. What's more, the state had an issue with false positives, sending infected people back to home and school believing they were A-OK.
The only New England state on the list saw the first flu-related deaths in early November, one in Litchfield and one in Fairfield.
Perhaps because it's the second most populated state in the U.S., the Lone Star State landed in the top spot as the worst state for the flu, according to the report. The CDC reported 23 widespread flu activity weeks in Texas out of the 30 peak flu season weeks tracked since 2013, with just one week rated as “low."
The Bottom Line
In ApartmentGuide.com's list of all 50 states, you can see where your state falls, as well as the number of weeks it had high, moderate, and low flu activity.
Ultimately, no matter where you reside, there's a risk. Getting vaccinated for the 2019-2020 flu season will protect you and your kids against the strains that are circulating now.