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New Website Tracks Flu Hot Spots Throughout Country

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Tracking the flu near you – a new website let’s you pinpoint where the virus is active in your area.

Susan Waters likes the idea. Susan wasn’t the only person walking into Sacramento area urgent care center on Monday.

It was plenty busy, with some patients suffering from what a lot of people are dealing with this winter – the nasty flu.

“We are experiencing a flu season that has spiked early, but we are not done with it,” a Sacramento physician said.

In fact, we have three more months until the end of flu season, one that’s been the worst in a decade.

There was no need to tell our friend Susan that.

“It’s an epidemic,” she said.

And she knows how it’s spread:

“A lot of people don’t cover their mouth,” she said. “They sneeze. Going to the grocery store you know people (wipe germs on their carts). Come on now!”

Well, now Susan can let her fingers fight the flu by logging on to a website that asks: Do you have it in you?

A double meaning to that question: Do you have the flu? Do you have the inclination to help track where the flu is in your neck of the woods?

Starting this week, you can do that. It’s called “flu near you.” Ask Susan if she’s in.

“Hell yeah, because I want to know where it’s coming from,” she said.

Here’s how it works: You respond anonymously to a series of questions every week during flu season, a checklist of 10 symptoms.

“I think it’s a very good idea,” Susan said.

Once the info is in the system, a map pops up showing how many people in your area, broken down by zip code, have the flu–

With the flu bug biting hard this season, Susan plans to bite back with this new tool and some old standbys of course.

“Wipe your computer down. Wipe your chair down. Spray the inside of your car,” she said. “You’ve just got to do a whole lot of things.”

The key to the website being effective is more people participating. As of Monday night, there were a little more than 21,000 registered users in California.

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