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predicting-the-flu-so-you-can-avoid-it-headerIt's flu season and you know what that means... Stuffy nose, sore throat and body aches that leave you crying on the bathroom floor. But have no fear!

By checking out an award-winning flu forecaster designed by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, your family can be spared from the onslaught of sickness and prevent the spread of disease. 

At Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, experts are predicting when the flu virus will strike. Their results were so on point they were congratulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for winning "Predict the Influenza Season Challenge."

As victors, the team compared and contrasted mathematical weather data that related to season change and illness symptoms. To track the numbers, they created a map of the United States that displays different flu cases all across the country. The map tracks the severity, the amount of cases and even predicts when flu season will return.

The map predicts that flu season will hit New York in January, Atlanta will get hit right after Christmas, and Chicago will be hit two days before. This is a time where residents should re-think their vacation times and decided if they should go shopping or not. 

"It may help parents decide when to schedule their children's play dates or it may also help remind people to think about getting vaccinated for influenza," said professor Jeffrey Shaman.

With flu season right around the corner for this country, a flu forecaster comes at a perfect time. The CDC has already predicted that this season could be worse than others since because of variations within complex virus DNA.

The flu forecaster not only benefits those who hope to avoid a week of sickness, it benefits hospitals too. By predicting the number of cases hospitals will be able to keep enough staff and medicine on hand to meet the needs of sick patients.

The team who created the forecaster hopes it will be used one day alongside the weather forecaster, pollen count and daily news. 

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