Outsmart the Flu
Don't want the flu to get you down? Use your smartphone, computer, or tablet to outsmart the virus. Today's technology offers fun and helpful tools you can view and download, including some free of charge, to find out everything you need to know about this year's flu season and help you avoid becoming a victim. These tools provide strategies for preventing the flu — getting the vaccine is still No. 1 — and ways to determine whether your symptoms are the flu or just a common cold. You can even learn about tracking the flu if it invades your neighborhood.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the official recorder of flu outbreaks in the United States. That might make the CDC's flu app, FluView, the official flu tracker. With this app, you can easily see how severe flu outbreaks are in your state during any given week of the flu season thanks to color-coded maps. You also can listen to podcasts or watch videos on topics such as protecting babies from the flu and flu-related hospitalizations. It's available for free on iTunes and Google Play.
Flu Defender by Pocket Professions could be called "everything you need to know about the flu." The facts it provides are customized for where you live. You can learn how to be flu-smart, find out where to get the flu vaccine near you, track recent flu activity, and identify any symptoms you develop. A neat feature of this flu-tracking app is the ability to get real-time messages via Twitter from the CDC's flu feed. It's available for free from iTunes.
Flu Near You
Flu Near You is a free online program administered by Healthmap of Boston Children's Hospital in partnership with the American Public Health Association and the Skoll Global Threats Fund. Users register and complete surveys to help everyone learn more about the flu. The app tells you where and how many flu cases have been reported in the United States based on the user-contributed data. Enter your ZIP code to find out where to get a vaccination and use the links to public health sites to learn more about tracking the flu.
Help, I Have the Flu
This Facebook app gets a little personal. Click on "who made me sick?" and it scours posts from your friends for words that could signal they're flu-ridden, such as "flu," "sneezing," and "coughing." You'll know who might be contagious and whom to stay away from if you're not sick yet. Or maybe a friend posts that she hasn't been sleeping well for the last couple of nights. That could make her more susceptible to the flu, and you have the option with this app to message and warn her.
Coughing and sneezing? Sore throat? Fever? Think you have the flu and need to see a doc? If you live in a major city — from Atlanta to Los Angeles and Boston to Orlando — you can use the ZocDoc app to find a doctor and book an appointment (for any reason) on your smartphone in three simple steps. Enter your ZIP code and health insurance carrier, and a list of doctors and their available times pops up. It's available for free on iOS and Android devices.
Want to stay flu-free? One of the best ways to boost your immunity and keep the flu from taking its toll on you is to live a healthier lifestyle. Livifi is a great app for learning how to do just that. It suggests more than 40 healthy behaviors for mind and body and helps you set goals for health and happiness. You also can use it to track your progress and review your performance. It's available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch for $4.99
Everyday Health Flu Map
Want to know what flu conditions are like where you live? Everyday Health’s flu forecast map predicts flu severity across the United States, county by county. The map factors in data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as local weather forecasts and even public interest in flu on social media and Web searches. All you have to do is enter your zip code, and the map does the rest.