EMS Tips Operations

Google Flu Trends

Epidemiologists use surveillance use sampling data to understand the current and past prevalence of diseases. Hospital charting data, real time case reports, or over-the-counter and prescription medication sales could be used to determine disease patterns.

Periodically, during the 2008-09 flu season I have visited the Google Flu Trends website. The site states, “We’ve found that certain search terms are good indicators of flu activity. Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity in your state up to two weeks faster than traditional systems.”

Visit the Google Flu Trends site to:

  • Learn more about flu activity trends
  • Analyze the prevalence of flu over time in your state
  • Read more about how Google Flu Trends works
  • If you are an EMS manager how could you use this information to determine crew staffing or supply ordering?

    Learn more about 2008-2009 flu season activity from the CDC MMWR.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.