Flu sufferers can now collect more information about the origins of their germs, thanks to a new Facebook app.
"Help, I have the Flu" may not be able to tell you whether the woman coughing in the movie theater infected you, but it can devise clues -- by way of Facebook -- as to who the potential germ-holders in your life may be, RelaxNews reports.
The Facebook app uses different clues to determine which friends are sick by checking status updates for words, such as "flu" "sneezing" and "coughing," and looking at places those people might have checked in. Even the times your friends have posted are considered relevant. For example, several late night posts may indicate a person hasn't been sleeping enough and, thus, would be more susceptible to catching -- and passing along -- the bug.
The app also gives users the option to message the person in question to tell them they've passed along the flu to someone else. (For those feeling more sympathetic, there's another option to purchase remedies for a sick friend.)
Of course, due to how the flu is spread, users may want to consider whether they've been in close enough contact with the allegedly sick person before hurling accusations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu viruses are can be transmitted from up to six feet away.
The CDC notes that most experts believe the flu is spread when droplets emitted by people coughing, sneezing or talking end up in the mouths and noses of those nearby. Catching the flu from touching an infected surface is thought to happen less often.
With flu season in full effect, it's worth noting that several apps have already been designed to deal with the virus. For example, one app can help determine whether your symptoms are indicative of the flu, while another app can track trends in local flu activity.
Hospitals in Maryland saw an uptick in the number of people being treated for the flu last month, leaving some medical professionals convinced that this flu season could be a particularly bad. In Chicago, the department of health said this is the earliest the virus has hit the area in the past five years.