Flu-monitoring apps are catching on
January 11, 2013By Zack Seward
This year's flu season is bringing with it a digital side effect: a rash of apps designed to help you stay healthy.
There's a Facebook app that scans your friends' status updates, pointing to who may have gotten you sick.
There's a mobile app called Flu Near You that crowd-sources the latest info on who's sick where.
There's a Google app that tracks how frequently people are searching for flu-related information.
And then there's the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention app called FluView that maps the spread of flu-like illness based on official data sources.
The CDC's Miguel Torres-Urquidy was the main developer of the iPhone app, which you can download in iTunes here. He says the spread of these dozens of web-based tools is definitely a good thing.
"Flu is a serious disease," Torres-Urquidy said. "Because of that, providing information to people is always useful. The more information, the better."
Torres-Urquidy says the idea is that more information — that can be more easily found — can help people make better health choices.
He says tech innovators in public health recognize this, and can help solve flu-related problems that pop up year after year.
This is the first flu season CDC's apps are being put to the test. So far, the FluView app has just over 1,300 users.