You're in bed, covered in tissues and fighting every symptom of the flu. All
you can do is pull up the covers and wonder who gave you this virus and
sentenced you to a few days in hell.
Now, you can grab your tablet and log onto Facebook -- there is a new app that searches your friends' pages for suspects.
Help, I Have the Flu, created by Help Remedies, was released on Monday.
The free application searches your friends' pages for entries that mention sneezing, wheezing, coughing and vomiting. Then, it shows a lineup of possible culprits.
"We thought we would try and have some fun with flu season and make it more interesting," said Richard Fine, the company's CEO.
It's timely -- the flu is spreading quickly this winter, infecting huge numbers across the country.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the proportion of people visiting their doctor for a flulike illness has climbed from 2.8 percent to 5.6 percent in the past four weeks. That compares with 2.2 percent during last year's mild flu season and a peak of 7.7 percent during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic.
The flu typically is spread by coughing and sneezing.The virus can survive about 30 minutes outside the body, said Dr. Dennis Cunningham, an infectious-disease specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
Larry Levine, 59, of Columbus, said he didn't need an app to figure out where he got the flu. He said recently his wife, Holly, is to blame.
"I laughed at her because I had the flu shot," he said. "The next thing I know, I got the same thing. Then, it wasn't so funny."
The number of Columbus residents hospitalized with flu symptoms rose to 217 cases during the last weeks of 2012.
"That's 10 times the number of cases we normally see," said Jose Rodriguez, a Columbus Public Health spokesman. Cunningham said the best way to avoid being one of the many battling the villainous virus is to get vaccinated.
Being the one to blame for the bug is "the last thing you want to do," he said.
Information from Reuters was included in this story.
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