That’s the question that Flu Near You asks its subscribers once a week, and it usually takes less than a minute to respond to their email and help them track influenza outbreaks around the country.
Run by Healthmap of Children’s Hospital Boston in partnership with the American Public Health Association and the Skoll Global Threats Fund, this project maps self-reported influenza-like-illness from its volunteers.
Credit Flu Near You 12/5/12
I joined in November of 2011, and I wrote about in The `Flu Near You’ Survey. Participating is very easy, and the more people we can get to contribute reports, the more valuable (and accurate) this tool will become (open to those aged 13 and over).
Once a week you receive an email with a link. Click on it, and you will be presented with a quick questionnaire.
With luck, all you have to do is click the last option. But if you did have symptoms, you simply click the ones that apply.
The information gathered will be made available to public health officials, researchers, disaster planning organizations and the general public.
In addition, the web site lists the following things the public can do when they visit:
- Complete quick surveys to advance our collective understanding of the flu
- See flu activity in your area at the regional or state level
- Explore flu trends around the world with Google Flu trends
- Use the Flu Vaccine Finder to find nearby locations offering flu shots or nasal spray flu vaccine
- Connect to local public health links
- Receive customized email disease alerts at your location
- Learn more about flu news, information, and resources at flu.gov
- Explore the RSS feed on updates on nearby flu outbreaks and related flu news
- Browse the Disease Daily to discover summaries of important outbreaks and expanded coverage through the Outbreaks 101 news section
Right now, with the recent spike in flu activity, the folks behind this project have expressed a desire to increase their enrollment.
Since I consider this an interesting and potentially valuable surveillance tool, I would encourage my readers to check out the site, and consider taking part in this project.