Friday, February 17, 2012

Flu Fridays: Learn about our new flu tracking tool, Flu Near You

Welcome back to Flu Fridays! Did you know that you can help track the flu this year, right from your computer? The Get Ready Report podcast team recently sat down with Michelle Holshue, RN, APHA’s Flu Near You fellow, to learn more about an online tracking tool called Flu Near You.

Launched in October, Flu Near You asks people to sign up to report their symptoms. Users get a weekly email asking, “How are you feeling?” They fill out a short survey about their recent symptoms — or lack of them — and then they can see a map of other reported flu symptoms in their area. The information on the map is anonymous, and the map is interactive, too.

“You can push ‘play’ on the map and watch the flu season unfold week by week, like a movie,” Holshue said.

Holshue believes that there are many reasons why the public should be interested monitoring the flu.

“A lot of people think that the flu is ‘no big deal,’ but in the U.S., thousands of people die every year from influenza and related complications,” she said during the podcast.

Holshue said she hopes that by using Flu Near You, everyday people can arm themselves with knowledge about flu activity in their area.
Image courtesy Flu Near You.
“By looking at the map every week, they’ll be able to know if flu cases are picking up in their area, and then hopefully they can take precautions to prevent themselves from getting sick, like getting the flu shot or practicing better hygiene,” she said.

Are you ready to learn more about Flu Near You? Listen to episode 23 (Part A) of our Get Ready Report online. iTunes users can download all of our Get Ready Report podcasts for free from the iTunes Store. You can also read the full transcript of the interview with Holshue.

If you’re an APHA member, you’ll also want to listen to Part B of episode 23, where we explain the special Flu Near You Challenge that we have developed just for members.

Find out more about Flu Near You or sign up to take part at

No comments: