You’ve gotten your flu vaccine and you wash your hands regularly. But you still need protection from those flu-ridden friends on your social network.
If you are looking for the latest in flu prevention, don’t head to the pharmacy. The healthcare product company Help Remedies says it has a powerful tool for keeping the flu at bay. It’s called “Help I Have The Flu,”, a Facebook app that scans through your Facebook page to identify who among your social network is most likely to give you the flu. That way, you can stop hanging out with them before it’s too late.
(MORE: Rising Number of Flu Cases Raises Public-Health Concern)
Don’t worry. It’s not based on such privacy-invading scientific strategies as delving into your friends’ medical or vaccination records. Instead, the app looks for friends’ comments and statuses relating to flu activity, like “coughing” and “sneezing” and even tracks trends such as late night posts, since lack of sleep is considered a risk factor for getting sick. The result? A list of risky individuals from whom you can steer clear. Or, perhaps just as important, blame if you come down with a bug. After all, nothing is more comforting than being empowered to point fingers.
Thankfully, when I used the app none of my friends had serious flu activity on their newsfeeds, though I’m convinced some are just being discrete about it. However, another friend I recruited as a guinea pig wasn’t so lucky. Four people popped up in her potential illness scan. The app informed us that one friend recently “mentioned medicine,” one “mentioned ill,” one lived within “sneezing distance,” and one “had multiple late night posts.
(MORE: Flu Vaccine is 62% Effective, Say Health Officials)
The app also allows you to send a snarky message to anyone in your social network with questionable flu activity, to let them know you plan to ignore them for the time being. Part of the message reads:
Hello, don’t take it personally (well, actually do) but I’m placing you in a quarantine…So If I don’t reply to your posts or come to your events that’s the reason. Sorry, what can I say? See you soon. Just not that soon.
But fret too much over burning bridges with your sniffling contacts. The entertaining app also enables users to send their sick friends a discount for flu medicine. So, really you’re doing them a favor too.