Fight the Flu Through the Power of Social Media
We all know the flu this season has hit an all time high and is now being considered an epidemic. As of January, around 3,700 flu related hospitalizations have been accounted for, almost half of which are people over 65 years of age. A recorded 20 children have passed from the flu this year, yet presumably more considering not all flu cases are reported. The actual death toll will not be estimated until the season has ended. It is not too late to recieve the vaccination, yet spot shortages have been reported since only 130 million doese were created this year. Keep in mind the vaccination can take up to 2 weeks for your body to create enough antibodies to fight the flu. So continue to wash hands and surfaces and cover your mouth when exposed in public places.
Social Media Tools to Fight the Flu
Vaccinations are not the only way to protect yourself from the flu this year. Social media has expanded itself by reviewing trends and topics to help pinpoint the location of infections as well as symptoms. These sites allow you to see which state has the highest infection rate while compairing symptoms with other infections so you can help fight the flu yourself.
Below are some sites to check out:
Google Flu Trends:
Created in November 2008 by Google, Google Flu Trends can provide an estimated real-time flu activity in 29 countries. Google Flu Trends searches trends, comparing it against historical data provided by the nations centers for disease control. It takes this data and provides regions that are minimal, low, moderate, high or intense with the flu virus. You can then locate your country or region to see the level of severity by you.
DIZIE: Created by Nigel Collier from the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo, Dizie uses twitter data to analyze user’s tweets who are describing symptoms while compiling this data. Dizie can pinpoint these tweets in 43 cities around the world in many countries. This allows users and researchers to see which symptoms are prominent in different areas. This doesn’t only apply to the flu though, you can track any type of symptom or disease that is being described in these areas.
MappyHealth: This website can analyze around 5.2 million tweets from users that can match it to 27 health conditions. It allows you to see trends in symptoms for many different ailments as well as tracking where they are coming from.
HealthMap: This online map uses online news aggregators, expert discussions, reports and eyewitness stories to map out the spreading of an infection and outbreaks. Download the mobile app called Outbreaks Near Me.
Flu Near You: This user friendly website allows over 44,000 registered users to complete a weekly survey about their condition and symptoms that are compiled into a database where officials can track these trends and accurately track where viruses are prominent.
Keep in mind to keep a healthy lifestyle. A strong immune system will help ward off any infection or virus that might be lingering. Remember to sanitize hands and objects around the home and office and always wash your hands. Keeping a clean home will also keep allergens out and keep you healthy.
Some information provided by Business Week