SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Georgia has been ranked the sickest state in the nation, followed by South Carolina as second, according to the smart-thermometer company Kinsa.
The thermometer is connected to a smartphone app that records things like temperature and flu-like symptoms and it’s in the mouths of more than a million people across the United States.
The company records the data and what they’re seeing is the highest numbers of flu-like symptoms in Georgia and South Carolina.
“The first thing you do when you suspect an illness is you take your temperature, and we’re able to use that information to understand in real time where and when illness is spreading,” said Nita Nehru, a spokesperson for Kinsa Health.
Kinsa data shows flu-like symptom rising rapidly.
“Nationally, the country is about 5.6 percent ill. Which means there are around 18 million people in the country who have an influenza-like illness,” Nehru said.
The hardest hit state this week is Georgia at 7 percent, which means more than 700,000 people have flu-like symptoms. In a close second, is South Carolina at 6.7 percent.
“Kinsa thermometers are used by over a million people throughout the country and we get about 35,000 reading a day,” Nehru said, adding, “Last week we got 22,000 symptoms.”
Their data aligns with the CDC’s at almost 96 percent.
According to state reports, Georgia’s latest numbers date to the end of January with 51 flu-related deaths.
South Carolina’s data is now up to Feb. 3 at 106 deaths.
“The reason of death from the flu is usually the secondary effects that come with it: pneumonia, respiratory distress, difficulty keeping their oxygen levels up,” said Dr. Ben Spitalnick with the Pediatric Associates of Savannah.
Doctor offices across the country are running low on Tamiflu – and many have run out of flu swabs.
“We can still diagnose and treat, but it’s just based on symptoms rather than the positive or negative swab,” said Paige Pardue, a nurse practitioner at the Global Urgent Care in Bluffton.
An Atlanta hospital has even opened a mobile unit in the parking lot to deal with the influx of flu patients.
The best thing you can do is wash your hands and get the flu shot. Even though it’s not as effective this year, it can still keep you out of the hospital. And keep in mind – you can get the flu more than once in a season.
For a full list of where you can get a flu shot, click here.