New Flu App: Can Social Media Keep Us From Getting Sick?

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RENO, Nev. -- Facebook lets you socialize, post picture and, now, you can even find out who gave you the flu. That's what the new application claims it can do, but does it actually work?

Facebook has developed a new app that lets you find out who could have given you the flu. It uses keywords, like "sick," "ill," or any other flu-related phrases in your friends' posts to generate a list of possible culprits.

"I would see that and if it were one of my friends they would not come over to the house because I would not want my kids to get sick," said one user.

"I'm pretty sure there are people who would fall for that, but I think it's bogus," another user said.

Dr. Joseph Iser, Washoe County District Health Officer says finding the person who caused the sickness is nearly impossible or helpful.

"[Influenza] is a disease just like any other diseases and trying to force blame on someone who we like or even love probably isn't very helpful," he said.

Due to how the flu is spread, users should consider whether they've been in close contact with the alleged sick person before raising any accusations.

"You may be around someone with influenza, but not be specifically exposed by them on this Facebook app, but you could've picked it up at a doorknob on the restroom at a restaurant," Dr. Iser said.

According to the Washoe County weekly health reports, the average number of flu cases in the region is just below the national one.

The flu is transmissible, which means it is air-born and can be spread easily. When we cough or sneeze without covering our mouths, droplets of germs spreads into the atmosphere sometimes you might not even know you are sick.

"You can transmit the disease without being sick yourself," Dr. Iser said. "Right before your symptoms start, you can transmit your disease to others."

So app or no app, there's really no sure-fire way to know where you got the flu.

The best way to prevent it is to get a flu shot and to wash your hands thoroughly. Dr. Iser says he expects the peak of our flu season to hit in the next couple of weeks.