Flu and Technology

If you’re not wanting to catch a flu or the cold, you may need to go high tech, and you may need your phone more than you need your coat when you head out the door. Zicam, who produces over-the-counter remedies for flu and colds, has created a downloadable program for the T-Mobile G1, or “Google phone” that can help you avoid catching the flu or a cold.

Based on your zip code, Zicam Cold and Flu Companion warns users about how many people are suffering respiratory symptoms, such as sneezing, headaches, or coughing, and it tells users which symptoms are most prevalent. For instance, it will tell you 12 to 16 percent of the people in zip code 94328 are coughing, and then it will define your chances of catching the dreaded illness in terms as “low,” “moderate,” or “high.” If you plan on visiting other zip codes, the Zicam Cold and Flu Companion can also tell you your risk levels in those areas. In addition, Zicam will give you directions to your nearest retailer, so you buy their products.

Information for the program comes from Arizona’s Matrixx Initiatives, Inc.,—a company that makes products under the Zicam name. They get their information from Surveillance Data, Inc., who gets their information from polls conducted by pharmacies and health care providers. Currently, you can only download the program for Android Powered-Phones, but later this month you’ll be able to download it for your Apple iPhone. If you want to download the mobile application, click here.

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