There's still time for a flu shot

google flu ny 2010-11-15

Flu activity in New York State as tracked by Google Flu Trends over the last handful of season. The dark blue line is the current year. That big early spike was 2009.

The feverish state one of the editors was in yesterday had us thinking about the flu. So we checked out Google Flu Trends to see how this season is shaping up so far.

Flu experts will tell you there's no such thing as a "normal" flu season, but we don't appear to be off to anything you might consider a weird start. As you can see from Google's graph above, last year's flu season included a big early season spike.

Google's formula is based on search activity, not actual reported lab or doctors' office data. It appears to do a good job, though. (Both the New York State Department of Health and the federal Centers of Disease Control track the official data.) It would be interesting to see Twitter and Facebook updates folded in somehow.

Google is also now experimenting with data for metro areas -- here's Albany. Last year's data indicated Albany experienced an "intense" flu wave in early November.

All this is to say, if you haven't gotten a flu shot, there's still time to do so. Here's a flu shot finder.

Earlier on AOA: RPI's "beer pong" flu: a highly transmissible story

graph: Google Flu Trends

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