What the Tech? App of the Day: Sickweather
The CDC says in this week’s FluView report that seasonal influenza is now at an elevated risk in many parts of the country, and it is believed the flu will spread more rapidly as people return to work and school after the holidays.
Along with a flu shot, a mobile app can help you avoid the flu by helping you avoid people with the flu.
Sickweather gathers information from multiple sources to come up with what you might describe as a Sick Forecast.
First, the app accesses information from the CDC and other governmental health agencies, such as demographics and census figures. It also monitors social media for the use of certain
keywords and phrases. When someone posts to Facebook that "they have the flu" and the posts are made publicly and with geolocation tags, that information is added to the Sickweather
data. Many users of the app also self-report symptoms and diagnoses. Once all of that information is gathered, machine learning takes over to plot it out on a worldwide map. If the data reveals a rise in sickness reports in your area, you'll receive a notification that your area's "sick score" is higher.
A user can then look at the Sickweather map to see precisely what is being reported down to the street so you can avoid those areas. Using the Sick Weather app on an Apple Watch, you
can also get reminders when it's best to wash your hands.
Using machine learning, Sickweather claims it is capable to forecast the flu up to 15 days away and with 91 percent effectiveness. Besides the app, you can also see where the flu is and where it's spreading by going to the Sickweather website where you'll see how the flu has been spreading over the past 5 days.