HOUSTON, Texas - There's a new way to forecast flu outbreaks.
It’s a “sick” formula from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Health, that looks forward in time not backward like previous ones.
This mathematical model can predict when and where “influenza-like illness” will peak. “It’s pretty amazing what one can do with mathematical modeling. They used data from other years and they develop a model and then put in more data and see how well it predicts. So they’ve tested this very well” explains Catherine Troisi, Infectious Diseases Epidemiologist at UT Health School of Public Health.
According to these “nauseating numbers” the top three cities peaking or about to peak are Houston, Dallas and New Orleans.
Houston’s due to peak the week of December 14-20 with more than 19,000 people predicted to come down with “influenza-like illnesses.”
Dallas will be under the weather the same week but with more than 20,000 flu patients predicted.
New Orleans is peaking right now with more than 18,000 cases expected this week.
It's not to late to get a flu shot and Troisi recommends it, “Even though it’s not a perfect match this year, it’s still better to get vaccinated because it still will protect you somewhat. You may still get sick but you won’t be as sick.”
Take her advice and you can save your sick days for something more fun.