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In Focus: Want to know who gave you the flu? There's an app for that

Kristina Serafini
| Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 1:38 p.m.

The flu season is in full swing with 47 states currently reporting widespread activity.

In Boston, the outbreak was so severe that Mayor Thomas Menino declared a public health emergency last week. At the time, there were 700 confirmed cases of the flu compared to a mere 70 last year.

At Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pa., emergency tents were set up outside to care for an onslaught of patients coming in with flu-like symptoms last week.

Things aren't much better on this side of the state.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, nearly 1,000 cases of the flu already have been reported this season in Allegheny County as of Jan. 5.

If you're one of the unlucky ones who has bitten by the flu bug, you probably would like to pummel the person who passed along their germs to you — once you feel better, of course.

Well now you can. There's an app for that.

“Help, My Friend Gave Me the Flu” is an app created by drug company, Help Remedies, that works by trolling your friends' status updates looking for any signs of illness in an effort to find the carrier monkey who infected you.

The app will then provide you a list of people you can interrogate.

And if you haven't caught the flu yet, the app also tells you what friends you may want to avoid.

You know, in case you couldn't already tell by incessant status updates about feeling ill, check-ins at MedExpress and photos of used tissue.

It's a darn good thing that I already have these investigative skills because the app didn't work for me.

Thankfully, I haven't come down with the flu yet (knock on wood), so I tried checking to see which of my friends have been sick.

The app got stuck on “scanning photographs for dark circles” for a while before it stopped completely. I guess the amount of friends I have who run on very little sleep were enough to crash the app. I haven't even been able to use it since.

I hope there's still time to get a flu shot.

Kristina Serafini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1405 or

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