From December 25 to January 1, the South Central, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, and Southeast regions will get hit harder by the flu and colds than other regions of the country, according to projections by WebMD, a leading source of online health information.

Using a combination of geo-location data and self-reported information from consumers experiencing influenza-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and cough, identified the top five cities expected to be hardest hit: Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Fort Smith, AR/ Fayetteville, AR/ Springdale, OK/ Rogers, OK; San Diego, CA; and Charleston, SC.

Here are the top 20 cities that will likely be "ground zero" for the flu::

  • Austin (TX)
  • Baltimore (MD)
  • Fort Smith/Fayetteville/ Springdale/Rogers (AR/OK)
  • San Diego (CA)
  • Charleston (SC)
  • Oklahoma City (OK)
  • Rochester (NY)
  • Salt Lake City (CO, ID, NV, UT)
  • Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville (NC/VA)
  • Cincinnati (IN, KY, OH)
  • Las Vegas (NV)
  • Kansas City (KS/MO)
  • Richmond-Petersburg (VA)
  • Omaha (IA/MO/NE)
  • Buffalo (NY/PA)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul (MN/WI)
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth (TX)
  • Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson (GA/NC/ SC)
  • Columbus (OH)
  • Charlotte (NC/SC)

"As friends and families gather together to celebrate the season, cold and flu viruses are on high alert and ready to pounce," says Michael Smith, MD, chief medical editor and medical director of WebMD. "Providing this information will raise awareness and equip consumers with information they need to take proactive steps to avoid getting sick."

Sponsored by RB, a leading consumer health and hygiene company, the WebMD Cold and Flu map uses a combination of geo-location data and information compiled from over 4 million Symptom Checker checks per month to present a real-time analysis of the spread of cold and flu symptoms. The map data has proven to be highly predictive of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prevalence data for cold and flu, and WebMD's proprietary models predict cold and flu trends up to 6 weeks in advance. The Cold and Flu map enables consumers to take preventative measures to keep themselves and their families healthy during the holidays.

(Click here to view WebMD’s Interactive Cold and Flu Map, which includes a county-by-county breakdown of the cities currently impacted by cold and flu symptoms, as well as those cities expected to see an increase in the weeks ahead.)  

WebMD and RB have also launched a Cold and Flu chatbot ( enabling consumers looking for credible cold and flu information to obtain answers to their questions and personalized product recommendations. For additional tips on how to prevent or treat cold and flu, visit the WebMD Cold, Flu, and Cough Health Center at

About WebMD

WebMD Health Corp. is the leading provider of health information services, serving patients, physicians, health care professionals, employers, and health plans through our public and private online portals, mobile platforms, and health-focused publications. The WebMD Health Network includes WebMD Health, Medscape, MedicineNet, eMedicineHealth, RxList, OnHealth, Medscape Education, and other owned WebMD sites.

SOURCE WebMD Health Corp.