A company that makes smart thermometers is reporting that Kansas is the “sickest state in the country.”
While 5 percent of the national population has flu-like symptoms, that number grows to 6.6 percent in Kansas, according to Kinsa.
That means about 191,000 Kansans have flu-like symptoms.
Nationally, the illness level is an increase from the same time last year. Illness in Kansas peaked last year at 5.3 percent sick.
Missouri is currently the second “sickest state,” at 6.5 percent.
Kinsa tracks the flu through its thermometers, which report fever spikes in particular areas. The company told the New York Times that it gets about 25,000 readings each day.
This year, the influenza is the most widespread outbreak since public health authorities began keeping track more than a dozen years ago.
In Kansas, influenza has killed 48 people so far this flu season, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports. Another 163 have died from pneumonia, with pneumonia and influenza linked as a contributing factor in another 552 deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people protect themselves and others from the flu by getting an annual flu vaccine, avoiding contact with sick people, washing hands often with soap and water, staying home for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone and taking antiviral drugs if prescribed by a doctor.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO GET A FLU SHOT
In Wichita, free flu shots are available at the Sedgwick County Health Department clinic, 2716 W. Central to uninsured adults and children and children on Medicaid and other state insurance. For uninsured children through age 18, flu shots are available on a sliding scale from $2 to $20. Income verification is required for the sliding fee scale.