More American adults reported having the flu in April 2011 than did so in the same month last year, the fifth consecutive month in which monthly flu reports exceeded those from last season, according to Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data. Flu reports peaked in February, which is typical, at 3.3%, 50% higher than the 2.2% in the same month last year.
Sep-Nov Flu Rates Were Lower YOY
American adults’ self-reports of the flu, however, were lower throughout the start of this flu season, in September, October, and November 2010, than they were last season. In particular, the flu rate in October (1.9%) was almost 50% lower than October 2009 (2.7%).
2011 Also Worse for Colds
Nearly 6% of American adults reported having a cold in April 2011, up about 27% from 4.7% in April 2010. More Americans reported having a cold in most months this year than did so last year, although all three years of measurement have trended similarly, with reports building to a peak in December and then starting a slow decline.
Alaska, West Virginia Have Highest Reports of Colds and Flu
Americans living in Alaska, West Virginia, and Vermont were the most likely across states surveyed to report daily colds and flu this season, with about 13% of residents in each state reporting being sick with either on any given day.
In contrast, 7.4% of Nevadans reported either of these conditions on average each day. Residents of Oklahoma (8.1%) and Alabama and South Carolina (8.2% each) were also among the least likely to report having a cold or flu.
While in general, Gallup analysis indicates residents of warmer weather states tend to get sick less often than residents of cooler weather states, this is not universal. For example, Rhode Island (8.5%) and Colorado (8.7%) have some of the lowest cold/flu rates, while California (11.3%) has one of the highest.
Boulder, CO Healthiest Metro
Boulder, CO, had the highest Well-Being Index score (73.7) in the US across the 188 metropolitan areas that Gallup and Healthways surveyed in 2010. Lincoln, NB; Fort Collins-Loveland, CO; Provo-Orem, UT; and Honolulu, HI round out the top five metro areas with the highest well-being scores.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score is an average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. The overall score and each of the six sub-index scores are calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where a score of 100 represents the ideal. Gallup and Healthways have been tracking these measures daily since January 2008.
About the Data: Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index surveys each day, with a random sample of 1,000 adults, or roughly 30,000 adults per month, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.