The weather is cold across much of the U.S. and the flu season is now nearing its peak.
A new poll out this week from Gallup shows that 2.8% of American adults in December reported being sick with the flu the previous day. This percentage represents a slight uptick from the 2% who said the same thing in November.
Despite the rise in flu reports from November and a bit of hyperbolic reporting, this phenomenon is a common one for the flu. Flu cases generally peak just after the a the new year and subside until sometime around mid-year.
In fact, nearly everything about this year's flu cases is common. The 2.8% of reported flu cases per day in December measured by Gallup is the same as those seen in 2011 and 2012. The 2009 flu season was slightly higher with 3% daily reports in December, and 2010's mild season saw only 2.5% of U.S. adults reporting flu symptoms. Last year's flu cases spiked significantly during the end of 2012, with Gallup's poll numbers reaching 3.2% in December.
Though Americans in southern states are less likely to report having had the flu, Gallup is warning that, considering CDC data and the extremely cold weather in recent weeks, the south could see increased flu infections during January 2014.
Gallup's survey also covered whether Americans have had a cold in the previous day. December's average rose to 8.9% from the previous month, a figure that is the lowest seen since December 2010's relatively low cold cases (8.7%). Cold cases reported to Gallup in December 2012 hit 9.9%.