Read more: Where to get a flu shot this season
If those numbers aren't enough to get you a flu shot, just talk to someone who had the flu last year and chances are high that they tell you they wished they had the flu shot.
Getting a flu shot is a way to protect yourself, and you can also prevent exposure by avoiding areas with outbreaks by tracking the flu activity in areas that you live or are going to visit. Keep reading for more information about why you should follow the flu and how you should do this.
Why you should follow the flu
There are several reasons why you want to track flu activity, especially that you know when it is active in your area. If this is the case, you want to be sure that you have been vaccinated to prevent the risk of getting sick.
If you know that there is flu in your area, you can also be vaccinated earlier, according to Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and expert in infectious diseases. "Tracking the flu is useful for the general public who are planning to get their vaccination – they may have a delay and know that flu activity is near their location, they can get them to get vaccination," Adalja told CNET. How to follow the flu ] Following the flu “/>
The flu shot is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of flu.
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In addition, Adalja said that following the flu is important for organizers, educators, or people working in schools and event planners, because certain events and gatherings may not be ideal during a bad community outbreak.
"If you are in an area with an outbreak it is important to be vaccinated and to practice good hygiene (frequent hand washing). If you have symptoms, it is also important to seek evaluation, especially if you have relentless fever, shortness of breath, being pregnant or high risk of flu complications due to pre-existing medical problems, "Adalja said.
Again, one of the best ways to actively prevent flu is immunization, but if you are looking for other ways to prevent it, tracking can help. This is especially important for people who cannot be vaccinated or have an immune system.
How to Track the Flu
Various websites and apps offer flu tracking services that let you see where the flu is active. Some sites also offer predictions or "risk assessments" for your region in the future. Most of these sites are powered by data collected by official health professionals, but a few (such as the flu in your area) rely on crowdsourcing and you can report your own symptoms directly if you want.
Everyday Health Flu Map
With the Everyday Health Flu Map you can enter your zip code and the system generates flu risks and predictions for the coming season for your location. The map will tell you if your area is considered a moderate or serious risk in the following month.
Sickweather is an app that relies on "social media forecasts" to collect data about where the flu is active in metropolitan areas. The app then assesses how much risk there is in your region and can predict future trends.
Keep in mind that Sickweather uses crowdsourcing and social media to make his predictions, but according to the website, the data is "regularly correlated and validated with available data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)"  Read more: