DENVER (CBS4) – The nation is reeling from the earliest influenza season in a decade.
Google’s Flu Tracker shows flu activity is “intense” in 41 states, including Colorado. Many hospitals have restrictions now to keep the flu from spreading. But still, experts estimate as many 40,000 people could die from the flu this year.
The main strain this year is H3N2 — one known to cause severe illness. Still, the vaccine does match it well and doctors say it’s not too late to get immunized against the flu.
Now there’s a new Facebook app offering a special type of relief. It’s being called the “Flu-Blue” app.
The new app can help people track others who are sick, and that could help them steer clear of them or track the person who made them sick in the first place. Many in the medical profession believe the app has great potential.
“I think it’s a great idea. If nothing else you might get a free meal off somebody or be able to rib a good friend of yours,” said David Rossi, Director of Emergency Trauma at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Rossi says the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention uses that sort of triangulation information to figure out where illnesses originate from. So the idea is the same with Facebook. However, he says unlike the CDC, he’s not sure about Facebook’s accuracy because anyone can post what they want.
“If somebody’s posting something that they suddenly came down with fever and body aches and headache and-or vomiting, you certainly know, ‘Hey there’s a chance I can kind of avoid that,’ ” Rossi said.
The Facebook app also provides users the option to message the person in question to tell them they may have passed along the flu to someone else.