The United States prepares for a severe flu season
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens has launched the 2022-2023 Walgreens Flu Index to help communities track flu activity in their area and to remind people to get protected with an annual flu shot. Returning for its ninth season, the Walgreens Flu Index shows that to date, overall flu activity is more than 10 times higher nationwide when compared to the 2021-2022 flu season. Activity has also more than doubled over the past two weeks.
“As we head into the fall and winter seasons, our data show significantly higher flu activity early this year when compared to other flu seasons and it’s increasing across the United States, especially in southern cities,” said Anita Patel, vice president, pharmacy services development, Walgreens. “As we return to pre-pandemic activities and spend more time indoors without a mask or social distancing, we are more vulnerable to respiratory infections. To help reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses this season, the best thing you can do is schedule your annual flu shot and updated COVID-19 booster at Walgreens in one convenient stop.”
During the week of Oct. 10, flu activity was the highest in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. Several major cities, including New Orleans, Houston and Mobile, Ala. were designated as the top ten areas with the most widespread flu activity so far this flu season.
A national survey showed many are either unsure or do not plan to get vaccinated against the flu during this flu season.1 With rising rates of flu, COVID-19 older and new variants in circulation, and other respiratory illnesses, hospitalizations are expected to rise and could result in a strain on the healthcare system.2 To prevent flu and its potentially serious complications, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine by the end of October and before the flu begins spreading during the holidays.3 If individuals are unable to get vaccinated until later, the CDC recommends still getting the flu shot because flu activity most commonly peaks in February and can continue through May. It takes about two weeks after the vaccine for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.
Top 10 DMAs with Highest Flu Activity
- Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas
- Columbus-Tupelo-West Point-Houston, Miss.
- Corpus Christi, Texas
- Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas
- New Orleans, La.
- Columbus, Ga. (Opelika, Ala.)
- Houston, Texas
- Lafayette, La.
- Mobile, Ala.-Pensacola (Ft. Walton Beach), Fla.
- Montgomery-Selma, Ala.
Top 10 States with Highest Flu Activity
- South Carolina
- Puerto Rico
- North Carolina