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Health: Latest Flu Information Released, New App Helps People Avoid Sick People

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stephanie-web Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – New numbers from the Pennsylvania Health Department show the flu continues to spread. A state map shows a big concentration of cases in our area, compared to the rest of the state.

Taking a closer look at the numbers, there are almost 800 lab confirmed cases in Montgomery County, 544 in Bucks County and 525 in Philadelphia.

The flu is clearly widespread. It’s more important than ever to avoid coming into contact with sick people, and now there’s a new way to help you do that.

There’s a new app on Facebook that can help you track down potential germ spreaders. “Help I Have The Flu” uses different clues to determine which of your friends are sick by checking status updates for words like “flu,” “sneezing” and “coughing.”

“If somebody’s posting something that they suddenly came down with fever and body aches and headache and or vomiting, you certainly know, ‘Hey, I can kind of avoid that,’” said Dr. David Rossi, an emergency physician.

The new app also calculates times of posts. For example, several late night entries may indicate a person hasn’t been sleeping enough and would be more susceptible to catching and passing along the bug.

“The CDC, for instance, uses that sort of information — how to triangulate where illnesses originate from. So the idea is the same. I don’t know how accurate it will be, because anybody can post what they want, but it’s a fun idea,” said Dr. Rossi.

Doctors say the best way to not get sick this year is to get a flu shot, and take other precautions like frequent hand washing.

For more on the new app, visit: http://apps.facebook.com/help-flu/?fb_source=search&ref=ts&fref=ts

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