I spent this week battling the flu. No, I never got around to getting a flu shot this year and I'm paying for it now. While I've been down I've spent some time online looking for ways to not only get better quickly, but avoid the possibility of getting sick again. There's got to be an app for that right?
I found one with "Sick Weather". The Android and iOS app claims it can help you avoid getting sick by helping you avoid places where people are sick and it does this in a very interesting (maybe creepy) way.
"Sick Weather" has an algorithm that can gather information from public Facebook posts and Twitter by searching and finding certain keywords such as flu, bronchitis, chicken pox and pink eye. It also scans the social networks for posts like 'I'm sick" or "taking the kid to the doctor". If those tweets and posts are public and if they're posted with location settings turned on, "Sick Weather" combines the results with the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control. Users of the app also self-report their illness with a couple of taps on their smartphone.
For example, I searched the Atlanta, Georgia area for influenza and the map quickly populated with dozens of flu reports. The map is detailed and if you zoom in close enough you can practically make out an address
"Sick Weather" will also send you notifications and alerts if you approach an area where an illness is reported. The developers of the app claim it can forecast illness up to 15 days out with 91% accuracy, though I didn't find any data to support the claim.
The company says it protects a user's privacy but there is some concern that it manages to gain information from FDA approved medical devices and other third-parties.
The "Sick Weather" app is free but there's a paid version that goes into more detail of the illness reports.