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Here You Go, Germophobes — Walgreens Launched This Season’s Flu Tracker

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This week, Walgreens launched its 2019-2020 Flu Index, an interactive map that tracks flu activity across the U.S., including Puerto Rico. Updated weekly, the index is populated using prescription data from Walgreens pharmacies. This is its sixth season.

The map uses a color-coding system to show at a glance which areas have the highest rates of flu activity. A disclaimer on the sidebar says, “The Flu Index is not intended to illustrate levels or severity of flu activity, but rather, illustrate which populations are experiencing the highest incidence of flu.”

Green indicates low incidence of flu, while red indicates high. The purple areas are the week’s top 10 “designated market areas,” basically metro areas, in terms of flu activity. The top areas experiencing the flu this week, for example, are mostly situated around the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, along with Montgomery-Selma, Alabama and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

This season, in addition to weekly flu activity, the Walgreens Flu Index also allows viewers to compare current flu activity to flu activity from the same time last year. You can also watch the flu evolve over the past year in a fascinating if disturbing time lapse, from green, to yellow, to orange, to red, and back again.

The tracker is updated every Wednesday, so if you enjoy data maps, check back each week. And if you’re freaked out by a red map, here are a few things you can do: try natural home remedies, keep your hand sanitizer by your side, clean your home with flu-prevention in mind, and schedule your flu shot today.

Check out the Walgreens Flu Index here.

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Mia Nakaji Monnier

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Mia Nakaji Monnier is a freelance writer and former weekend editor at Apartment Therapy. She lives in Los Angeles and spends most of her free time knitting.

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