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SickWeather Will Guide You Through Cold and Flu Season

Ah, winter. Snow falling, icicles hanging, children sledding, hot cocoa by the fire, snuggling under blankets on the couch… coughing, sneezing, aches, fevers and stuffy noses. Yup, that’s how it goes, isn’t it? It would be neat if everyone who was sick would just stay home until they were over it, but it simply doesn’t happen that way. We all take precautions: washing our hands often, using hand sanitizer when we can’t get to soap and water, using the inside of our elbows to cover our mouths when we sneeze or cough…but sometimes that’s not enough. Wouldn’t it be neat if you could know where there were sick people before you were surprised by their germs?

Thanks to SickWeather, you can! What we’re looking at here is a website and app that tracks where high concentrations of sick people are, so you know to avoid those areas if you can. Seems silly, doesn’t it? But what it does is scan Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites for mentions of people being sick. It then uses an algorithm to take note of their locations and put them on a map. It will even let you search by specific illnesses such as flu, chicken pox, or something as simple as sore throats.

You know the best part? It’s free. If you’re using an iPhone, you can download the app from the App Store. Unfortunately, there is not an app for other platforms (yet, she says optimistically), but the website is free and offers the same information. I’ve been playing with it a bit, and it seems pretty easy to use. For free, it seems like a pretty good thing to have in your keeping healthy arsenal. Just be aware that it depends on comments on social media for its information, so it’s not going to be 100% accurate. It should, however, give you a general idea of places you might want to avoid.

Source: Red Ferret

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