But Dodge, who is working with the CDC on another unrelated project, notes that the agency seeks to provide more up-to-date information. Currently, the CDC's U.S. influenza summary map is updated weekly.
"The CDC is proactively looking at better ways to forecast illness in real time," Dodge says.
THE FLU AND YOU: A LOOK AT THE SEASON SO FAR
Who's benefiting most from the data Sickweather gathers? Those first responders who launch into action at the first sign of illness. No, not doctors necessarily. We're talking moms.
"Moms of young kids are telling us about using the app. They're not using it for avoidance, but are using it for a pre-diagnostic reference tool," Dodge says. "One mom got a strep throat alert from the app. The next morning her son woke up with a high fever and it changed the way she handled it."
The mother immediately took her son to the doctor and he was diagnosed with strep, Dodge says. She credits Sickweather.com with helping her take a proactive approach to the situation since she had tracking information in hand.
THE FLU AND YOU: TIPS, REMEDIES AND MORE
Just as commuters can view real-time traffic tracking apps and plan their routes accordingly, Sickweather.com users are able to keep up with the cold, flu and allergy data in their areas and take action if needed.
"Different people in different situations can use the info to be more proactive, and I think we've never thought of illness in that way," Dodge says. "Sickweather would be the earliest warning you would get."
LEARN MORE: PREVENTING COLDS AND FLU
- Get a yearly flu vaccine
- Take preventive actions to stop the spread of germs
- If prescribed, take flu antiviral drugs
-- Source: Centers for Disease Control