The Flu Report: 9/19/2014 September 19, 2014 By Caitlin Bradford Leave a Comment Image courtesy of flunearyou.org. Click here to view the interactive map. Welcome to the first Flu Report! This weekly blog post has been specifically designed to be a quick and simple read to inform you on how influenza is spreading throughout the United States and the world at large as well as to provide you with helpful tips to avoid getting sick. This week, prevention is the driving force in the flu world. Throughout the country, Passport Health, local doctors, and various other clinics are helping to provide vaccinations to millions of individuals who are trying to stay as healthy as possible. However, this prevention doesn’t mean that infection hasn’t started. Overview: Flu season is still in its early stages at this point in 2014. Just under 2% of those reporting with FluNearYou.org are currently showing an influenza-like illness, on par with CDC estimates that sit at about 1-3% of the population in most areas of the United States having been ill at this point in flu season. The areas with the highest concentrations of infection are Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Mississippi, Kentucky and Vermont. More than 5% of the population has reported infection in each of these areas. By the Numbers: In the United States, the CDC has reported: Flu Cases – 185 Flu-related Hospitalizations – No current data Flu-related Deaths – No current data NOTE: Flu cases, as referenced above, are confirmed cases in people who have gone to see medical professionals. Percentage estimates, referenced in the “Overview” section, include these documented cases from medical professionals but also a variety of other self-reported metrics. As flu season progresses, more up to date information will become available. Around the World: Russia, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa are currently the hardest hit countries by the flu, according to Google Flu Trends which tracks searches and web activity that is linked to the spread of influenza. Staying Healthy: Our tip for this week: wash your hands! Use soap and warm water and rub your hands for at least 15 to 20 seconds in order to remove any potential viruses. Although gel sanitizers and alcohol based wipes are always helpful, washing your hands before eating and after using the restroom is a great habit that can save you from the pain of the flu. But, as always, the best preventative measure is getting vaccinated against the flu. The Flu Report is a weekly blog post designed to give updates on the spread of influenza throughout the year. It is posted every Friday and focuses on regional outbreaks, global spread and ways to avoid infection.