6 Expert Tips to Keep Your Cellphone From Giving You the Flu

Yesterday I shared with you natural ways to avoid the flu, so today I thought I’d tell you about a new way people are fighting the flu with their smartphones.

In an age where people seem to have their smartphone in their hands 24/7 and no place is off limits, it’s time we think about how we use them. I’ve seen people Tweet and post to Facebook from just about every location possible including on the toilet, in the tub, and everywhere in between. It’s time we put those devices to use for something more than Angry Birds. Now they can help you avoid the flu.

Here are some new smartphone apps that can help you learn more about flu symptoms, treatments, as well as tell you the areas to avoid that are reporting outbreaks.

Free Flu Apps

  • CDC Challenge Winners – A series of apps developed as contest entries. They include games, flu maps, and more.
  • Fight the Flu app – Track flu activity in your area; Receive free email alerts; Check the symptoms of flu; Get flu prevention tips; and Learn what to do if you’ve been exposed to flu.
  • HealthMap: Outbreaks Near Me – Real-time disease outbreak information provided by users
  • CDC Influenza – CDC mobile website with flu-like illness outbreak information.

Flu Prevention Tips

While your smartphone can help you learn more about the flu, it can also give you the flu. Here are a few tips from Dr. Geeta Nayyar, AT&T’s Chief Medical Information Officer, on how to keep your phone from becoming a nasty germ carrier:

  1. Consider getting a flu shot. If you are sick and experiencing flu symptoms, do not share your phone and stay home to avoid infecting others. Keep your germs to yourself.
  2. Avoid sick people.  If you share your phone with friends or family be careful, you may be sharing more than just your phone, you may be spreading a virus!
  3. Wash your hands frequently. Sing a verse from a familiar song (e.g., “Happy Birthday”) while lathering and rinsing. Don’t rush. If soap and water are not available to wash hands then use disinfectant like hand sanitizer.
  4. Wash your phone!  If you think it has been contaminated, disinfect your phone. Follow your phone manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean your device properly.  (Remember that washing your hands and then touching a dirty phone or keypad is self-limiting).
  5. Use a Bluetooth device or other hands-free headset, minimizing your keypad-to-face exposure
  6. Don’t – please don’t – use your phone in a restroom.  Some things can wait!

Find more information about the flu at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention site here: http://www.cdc.gov/.