The spectre of the yearly flu season is upon us, with the changing weather bringing an upsurge in flu and flu-like ailments. The 2014-2015 flu season resulted in more than 17,900 hospitalizations and 141 infant deaths lost to the yearly scourge. Thankfully, in addition to basic precautions and flu shots, there's a new tool you can put to use against the yearly flu: mobile apps. From sickness mapping to health tips, medical companion apps and telemedicine tools, check out these 7 apps to help you weather the flu season.
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Billing itself as "Doppler radar for sickness," SickWeather (Android, iOS) uses a combination of crowdsourcing, social media analysis and public health reports to provide a snapshot of the prevalence of various diseases in your area. You can track everything from the traditional, seasonal flu, pink eye, norovirus and 19 other sicknesses. Users can view 'heat maps' for general categories of illness or specific ailments, view illness forecasts for your location or search for locations and anonymously report sickness.
Another app that depends on crowdsourced illness reports, FluNearYou (Android, iOS) is a creation of epidemiologists from Harvard and Boston Children's Hospital that's designed to present you with a real-time snapshot of incidences of flu and flu-like illnesses in your area. The app relies on voluntary reports from users to map out the spread of the seasonal flu, and in addition, provides directions to vaccination centers, and the latest flu-related news.
It's been a while since FluDefender's seen updates, but the app still has some neat information and features. FluDefender provides basic information on flu prevention strategies, a vaccination assistant to help assess your personal flu risk and vaccination recommendations, and a symptom identifier that helps spot typical flu symptoms. The Recent Flu Activity page displays flu activity nationwide in list or map view based on the CDC's own published statistics, something that the CDC's own FluView app hasn't even started doing for this flu season.
As a general health and wellness app, WebMD is an old stalwart among mobile users that provides users with wealth of medical information and utilities, ranging from a Symptom Checker (select a body part and symptom to learn about potential conditions), to a database of medicines and their contraindications, first aid essentials and a map of local health listings, all automatically updated. While it shouldn't be your definitive source of medical information, it can help in deciding whether it's time to see the doctor.
With the spread of smartphones and tablets loaded with high quality screens, cameras and microphones, it's no surprise that Telemedicine is a booming field, remotely connecting doctors and patients together regardless of distance. TouchCare is a great example of implementation, connecting patients and participating doctors together remotely through the TouchCare app, serving as a supplement for office visits and follow-up calls. A similar app is Doctor On Demand, which puts patients in touch with licensed doctors, pediatricians and psychologists for paid video consultations. Check with your doctor to see if they employ this, or a similar service.
Medication for illnesses can be an expensive proposition. GoodRX is a price comparison app that helps you find the lowest price for your prescription and over-the-counter meds, pointing you toward pharmacies with the lowest prices as well as helping find available discounts and applicable coupons. Users can set a price watch on specific medicines, as well as receive custom refill reminders when your meds are running low.