Yep, it's flu season

google flu trends albany 2014-01-16

A quick flu update: Influenza activity appears to have taken a sharp upswing over the past few weeks in this area. The graph above is from Google Flu Trends' experimental cities reporting for Albany (methodology). The state Department of Health's latest flu surveillance report -- which is now almost a week old -- also indicated a recent rise in activity. It also reported that flu had been reported in all but just a few of the state's counties during the previous week.

This morning, a group of Capital Region hospitals announced they're putting in place stricter visitation guidelines in response to the uptick in flu activity. (Press release is post jump.) The group of hospitals includes Albany Med, St. Peter's Health Partners, Ellis, and Saratoga Hospital. This isn't really uncommon -- they've made the same move in a few other recent years.

While flu activity does appear to have made a jump in recent weeks, it doesn't appear to have reached the same sort of level of activity seen during the peak of last season, which was relatively high. Even so, it could still be worth getting a flu shot (find one). And at the very least, a little more attention toward washing your hands and covering your mouth when you cough (elbow!) isn't a bad idea.

It's a dry cold: An interesting -- and potentially relevant, given the recent bout of very cold, and thus low humidity, weather -- bit of flu nerding: There's research that points to the flu becoming more active following periods of low humidity. [NIH]

graph: Google Flu Trends

The Scoop

For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

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