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Tracking the flu online and discovering who made you sickJanuary 7, 2013 @ 4:12 pm (Updated: 8:37 am - 1/8/13 )
The flu is now showing in 82 percent of U.S. states and it's been deadly.
The death toll from this season's influenza outbreak has climbed to six in our state after the Snohomish Health District reported three people died last month in Snohomish County.
Washington state is considered to have a "high" rate of the flu compared with the rest of the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 70 percent to 80 percent of the coughs you hear around you stem from the flu.
Coughs and sneezes spread the virus everywhere - the handle of the coffee pot at work, the table that wasn't completely wiped down at Starbucks, and the keys of an ATM - surviving two to eight hours on hard surfaces.
While a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose, the virus is most often spread by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.
For many people it's too late to avoid the flu, but there's a new Facebook app that suggests it can help you track down how you got the flu.
"I'm sorry you have the flu Nothing will make you feel better than finding someone to blame," the app states.
Click a button and the app analyzes your friends' posts looking for any comments about being sick, coughing, missing work, or going to the hospital.
I was sick last week, ran the app and discovered Sean Bissell is the "Prime Suspect" because he mentioned the word "clinic" in a post. Diane Diamond is also a suspect because of her late night posts.
"Don't have the flu yet? Don't get cocky," the app also warns. "If you are not currently 10,000 miles from human civilization in a sterilized cavern wrapped in plastic wrap, you will most likely contract the flu."
There's no science involved in the app. It's just for fun, allowing you to quarantine the person who made you sick online or send them a get well note.
The CDC is watching social media flu sites such as Google Flu Trends and FluNearYou.com, which has 20,000 volunteers who are tracking their symptoms, narrowing the spread of flu down to your ZIP code.
By LINDA THOMAS
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