Social Media wants to help you stay on top of the flu - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Social Media wants to help you stay on top of the flu

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You expect the flu this time of year, but health officials say it's off to a running start.  And social media is trying to help you stay ahead of it...or at least find someone to blame. 

Nobody likes getting the flu.  Eight year old Amanda Rajkovich said, "because then I'll have to stay home and then I'll have extra homework."  But right now it seems everybody either has it or knows somebody who does.  "A good friend of mine had the flu last week.  And he was down for two to three days with fever, chills, he was just miserable," said Mike Hipsak.

It's because it's so widespread.  A map on Google trends show's the U.S. with almost all 50 states experiencing intense flu activity.  Dr. Ken Elek said he's, "been seeing a lot of people with flu symptoms.  It's not spared South Bend, Indiana at all."

Since the flu is so bad this year, why not use social media to stay on top of it?  "I think if it's a tool that tells you what to look for and what to do once you get sick that's helpful," said Dr. Elek.

The CDC is just one organization that's created an app that tracks the flu.  And now Facebook is tracking the flu in your friends.  The "Help I have the flu" app scans your friends activity on the social networking site to tell you who you may have caught the virus from.  This kind of app Dr. Elek said isn't all that helpful.  "When you're just trying to find out who you got it form , there's no way to know because most people are contagious before they have symptoms."

And if you're not sick?  Well the Facebook app will tell you who to avoid based on their behavior.  Again, Dr. Elek said not helpful.  "It looks for things that may have nothing to do with having the flu...like posting late at night."

But it is fun so Dr. Elek says if you want to play the game go ahead, just don't think it's exact science.

So how can you protect yourself from the flu? Dr. Elek said wash your hands a lot and use hand sanitizer.  If you've got the flu, don't spread it, stay home, drink lots of fluids, and take Tylenol. 

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