Influenza is on the rise in northeast Ohio, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health said Thursday.
CINCINNATI - It's that time of year when sneezes, sniffles and coughs make their way through northeast Ohio, and a new Facebook application may help you track down who is spreading the bug.
"Help, I have the Flu," lets Facebook users play detective by finding out who may be spreading influenza based on their status updates. The new app scans the social network for words like "flu" "sneezing" and "coughing," and looking at places those people might have checked in.
The app from Help Remedies also examines when people post to Facebook and takes many late-night status updates as a sign that the friend isn't sleeping enough and, thus, would be more susceptible to catching and spreading the virus.
If you find an ill friend, the app allows you to notify them that they infected you or have the potential to infect others.
The information can be particularly helpful this season as Ohio has already been hit hard with the flu. Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana are among many states that are seeing high levels of the flu.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk to others within a six-foot distance — so the app's results may not be bad advice when it comes to people with whom you come in contact.
So are you left wondering if you're sick? The CDC says people who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
For more information about the flu, go to http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.
To download the app and see which of your friends are to blame, go to http://apps.facebook.com/help-flu/?fb_source=search&ref=ts&fref=ts .
NewsChannel5's Lee Jordan spoke with a doctor about how this flu season is particularly active. See the video for the interview.
Supervisor of Clinical Services at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health Cindy Modie and the staff there are gearing up for an impending flu immunization season.
Residents in Lorain County can head to the fairgrounds Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a flu vaccine. The flu shot costs $15. For non-residents, it costs $20.
The American Academy of Pediatrics urged parents Monday to vaccinate children against the flu as soon as possible.
The number of Ohioans hospitalized with the flu since last September jumped dramatically over the previous year, but health officials say there isn't an easy explanation for the increase.
The flu season is winding down, and it has killed 105 children so far -- about the average toll.
You never want to sit next to that guy during flu season.
It turns out this year's flu shot is doing a startlingly dismal job of protecting senior citizens, the most vulnerable age group.
The number of states reporting intense or widespread flu dropped again last week, U.S. health officials said Friday.