Here’s how much this flu season could cost employers in these 10 states

Getting the flu is no fun. Besides costing you money in doctor's visits and medicine, it can be especially costly for companies when employees call in sick. The average flu case puts employees out of commission for four days, or at least 32 working hours.

To determine how costly the flu is for businesses in various states, GOBankingRates used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find the number of reported flu cases among people ages 18 to 64, then calculated the value of the time off work based on median wages in the state via data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Click through to see if this flu season will cost you a nice chunk of change.

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How much the flu season could cost employers in U.S. states
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How much the flu season could cost employers in U.S. states

11. Montana

Reported incidents: 3,289

Mean hourly rate per state: $19.92

Accumulated work wages lost: $2.10 million

Montana's Department of Health and Human Services reported the flu outbreak in the state was widespread at the start of February 2018, with almost 800 new cases reported within the past week. Nearly 500 people had been hospitalized because of the flu, and 24 had died. Every county in the state has had at least one case of the flu during the 2017-18 flu season, which began in early October.

Learn: 18 Medical Expenses You Can Deduct From Your Taxes 

Photo credit: Getty

10. Colorado

Reported incidents: 2,650

Mean hourly rate per state: $25.34

Accumulated work wages lost: $2.15 million

More than 3,000 people in Colorado ages 18 to 64 had been hospitalized because of the flu through Feb. 10, 2018, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that Colorado's flu activity level was classified as high as of early February 2018. However, six counties in the state hadn't reported any flu hospitalizations.

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9. North Carolina

Reported incidents: 3,896

Mean hourly rate per state: $21.77

Accumulated work wages lost: $2.71 million

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services classified the flu outbreak in the state as widespread as of Feb. 10, 2018, with cases reported across the state.

From the start of the flu season in October 2017 until early February, 165 flu deaths had been reported in North Carolina. A majority of the deaths were among adults 65 and older, with the second-most-common age group being 50 to 64.

Learn: Why Prescription Drug Prices Are Rising — And How You Can Save 

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8. New Mexico

Reported incidents: 13,611

Mean hourly rate per state: $21.23

Accumulated work wages lost: $9.25 million

The flu is widespread in New Mexico, according to the state's Department of Health as of early February 2018. So far, 128 flu-related deaths have been reported in the state. Although flu season isn't over, the death toll is almost 100 fewer than the 222 deaths during the 2016-17 flu season in New Mexico. 

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7. New York

Reported incidents: 10,841

Mean hourly rate per state: $28.32

Accumulated work wages lost: $9.82 million

All 62 counties in the state reported flu cases in the first full week of February 2018, causing the New York Department of Health to classify the flu outbreak as "widespread" for 10 weeks in a row. Five flu-related deaths have been reported in the pediatric category for the 2017-18 flu season. 

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6. Arizona

Reported incidents: 14,460

Mean hourly rate per state: $22.26

Accumulated work wages lost: $10.3 million

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, flu activity in the state was elevated as of Feb. 3, 2018, with all 15 counties reporting laboratory-confirmed cases in the week that started on Jan. 28. In Arizona, 461 pneumonia and influenza deaths have been reported during the 2017-18 flu season. 

Photo credit: AOL 

5. Texas

Reported incidents: 15,522

Mean hourly rate per state: $22.97

Accumulated work wages lost: $11.41 million

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services classifies the flu outbreak in the state as "widespread," with about 14 percent of doctor's visits being flu-related.

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4. Illinois

Reported incidents: 14,464

Mean hourly rate per state: $24.76

Accumulated work wages lost: $11.46 million

The Illinois Department of Public Health classified the 2017-18 flu outbreak as "widespread" in the second full week of December 2017. Almost 6 percent of outpatient visits in the state were flu-related, and four pediatric deaths were reported through Feb. 3, 2018. 

Photo credit: AOL

3. California

Reported incidents: 15,716

Mean hourly rate per state: $27.33

Accumulated work wages lost: $13.74 million

The California Department of Public Health has classified the flu outbreak in the state as "widespread," with every region experiencing elevated flu activity as of February 2018. Through Feb. 3, the state had reported 36 flu-related deaths.

Plan Ahead: 21 Hacks to Reduce Your Healthcare Costs This Year 

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2. Pennsylvania

Reported incidents: 35,453

Mean hourly rate per state: $22.85

Accumulated work wages lost: $25.92 million

In February 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Health declared the flu as "widespread," the highest alert level for the flu in the state. The "widespread" designation means the state has confirmed flu cases in at least half the regions of the commonwealth. Through Feb. 10, 2018, the state had reported 107 flu-related deaths. 

Photo credit: Getty

1. Protect Yourself (and Finances) From the Flu

The U.S. Department of Labor offers several tips for employers to help minimize the impact of the flu, including promoting vaccinations, telling sick employees to stay home and rest, and promoting a clean and hygienic workplace. But, employers can't do it alone.

The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get the flu vaccine, wash your hands and cover your mouth when you sneeze or begin to cough. If you do catch the flu, don't try to tough it out at work and end up giving it to co-workers. Instead, speak with your health-care provider about antiviral medications, which can reduce your sick time by one to two days and prevent complications. The sooner you can return to work, the better.

Up Next: 9 Tips for Keeping Medical Bills Low

Methodology: To conduct this study, GOBankingRates analyzed the number of reported flu incidents per state during flu season (October 2017 through mid-January 2018) among the working population ages 18-64. Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, GOBankingRates then took the mean hourly wage by state, the number of work hours in a day, and the average flu duration to find the accumulated work wages lost in each state. 

Photo credit: Getty

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