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New Ways to Avoid the Flu

by Kurt Knutsson

Blame it on my mom if I get the flu.

Flu shots and I have never been really known each other. My mom always said ‘No’ to them. And like a good son who learns from his smart momma, I’ve declined each time a flu vaccination was offered. And guess what, I have rarely caught the flu bug. Thanks mom.

Today is different.

This year’s flu is bad.

You and I are bombarded with what seems like news of one of the most widely spread flu epidemics in recent memory in America.

When crowdsourced apps that are tracking the flu show up with irrefutable evidence and solid reporting from the CDC and World Health Organizations start scaring the bejesus out of me, I start to look at the facts and feel the warning ping my common sense radar.

How to avoid the flu with tech

I’ve researched, discovered and tested technology in the form of apps and an interactive CDC website that are going to help direct my decision.

Technology is letting us see the spread of this year’s flu epidemic up close and personal with honed-in clarity. From crowdsourced reporting app called SickWeather app, Flu Near You app and a smarter collection of flu reports being reported faster to the Centers for Disease Control, I think I know more about where the flu is spreading than I ever have wanted.

The question is what do we do with this new found instant insight on the flu spread? Answer: Avoid it.

3 Apps that know where the flu is right now

#1 SickWeather app

Get notifications when you are near a heavily flu infected area.  At first I misjudged and thought this was a gimmick. Be sure its real and the self crowd reporting engineering actually seems to be working.  People get sick. Report it. And the symptoms along with location become part of a vast illness warning system.  Get the app

#2 Flu Near You

This winner relies on self-reporting symptoms and has proven itself correct. The more people are using it, the more relevant and useful it becomes at warning you of the presence of the flu virus.  Visit site

#3 Sneez app

The most popular way to know when flu is spreading at schools.  Tracks illness in real-time.

FluView Interactive website 
shows level of illness and viral surveillance. It gets the flu data from private and public health labs that report positive flu cases.

CDC urges these three actions to avoid the flu

1) Get Flu vaccine.
2) Take everyday actions to stop spread. Avoid contact with sick people. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. Hands off your eyes, nose and mouth.
Clean potentially contaminated surfaces with disinfectant wipes.
Wash your hands.
3) Take antiviral drugs if you get the flu. Stay home until 24 hours after your fever is gone.

Dirtiest places to never touch.

  • Airplane food trays and seat pockets.
  • Subway turnstiles
  • Office coffee machines and water coolers
  • Liquid soap dispensers. 1 in 4 are contaminated with bacteria in public restrooms.
  • Aisle seats get touched more often and are dirtier.
  • Exercise equipment at the gym

Now I sit here armed with ways to avoid the flu and track its spread.  And this might be the moment I rethink the flu shot and head to the doc for a vaccine.

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