(The Root) — Although I have been a bit under the weather lately, fortunately it hasn't developed into full-blown flu symptoms (I'm knocking on wood as I type this). But a record number of people are suffering from one of the worst flu seasons in 10 years. The ability to share data through social media and geo-location technologies can be extremely helpful in the examination of trends nationwide so that researchers can come up with more effective treatment strategies. And now there's an app that could help in that effort as well as help you, whether or not you get sick.
FluDefender is an app for the iPhone that does quite a bit to educate users about influenza. There are flu-prevention strategies and a quiz that users can take to make a general assessment about whether or not they need a flu shot. They can also identify symptoms, get quick flu facts and find out where vaccinations are administered.
A map shows users how bad the epidemic is in an area. Currently, there are only two states where flu activity is not considered widespread: Hawaii and Tennessee. The term "widespread" means that more than 50 percent of geographic regions within a state are reporting the activity.
With the app, users can follow Twitter updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has even more info about how to treat and/or prevent the illness. Another section of FluDefender features news updates from FLU.gov and CDC.gov and podcasts from various organizations and health care professionals.
Of course, if you think you're experiencing flu-like symptoms, the best course of action is to see your doctor immediately. But it's good to know that technology is doing its part in helping us get a handle on this flu season. If you're one of those unfortunate folks suffering right now, get well soon!
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