One Way to Avoid Getting the Flu This Season? Crowdsource the Symptoms

Despite dozens of deaths during this year's flu season alone, not everyone sees a doctor when symptoms start to show. That means the reports from federal authorities we all rely on to find out if flu is widespread are only tracking the worst cases, ones requiring hospitalization or a doctor's visit.

Those Americans who get the flu but choose to hunker down with a jug of orange juice and a box of Kleenex can still be counted—and help their communities beware the germs and illnesses that are floating through the neighborhood.

Flu Near You allows users to enter their symptoms and report "influenza-like illness" and records each case on an interactive map. The site is overseen by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, a foundation started by Jeff Skoll. (Disclosure: Skoll also founded our parent company, Participant Media.)

The site was developed in partnership with HealthMap, based at Boston Children's Hospital; anyone older than 13 and living in the United States can sign up at

Each week, registered participants are asked if they're experiencing any symptoms—and they're given a list to choose from—and whether they have had a flu shot.

That way, even if you're flat on your back with a case of the sniffles, you can let neighbors know about the germs lurking in the hood.

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Original article from TakePart