As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hint at flu gaining epidemic levels, several applications have come up which aim at informing people the real-time scenario of their surrounding areas.

The CDC says that the best way of fighting flu is prevention and app developers have already shifted focus to developing apps helping people identify the spread of the disease in areas they around them. There are several new websites that claim to inform how many people in the local regions are hit by flu.

The trend has been set by tech giant Google, which released the app “Google Flu Trends” in 2008. The app quickly gained popularity with people eager to know the prevalence of flu in their states, cities and even in their neighborhoods.

Although these websites or apps may not be good enough at providing people the correct details in the matter, yet some of them can deliver significant information. One of the reliable and impressive apps is the “CDC’s Flu View.” The app typically gets its data from hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics and urgent care centers. It uses reports to build its database on people who report positive on flu symptoms, including cough, fever, sore throats, muscle aches and so on.

Although the app does provide promising information, it is not completely correct. This is because the app takes into count flu-like cases as well, in addition to the flu-positive cases. Moreover, it has no source to detect the condition of those who have no records in its source destinations. There could always be a number of cases who do not avail treatment although they are likely to test positively for the bug. Another major flaw in the app is that it provides a lag between the actual recording of the number of cases and the time that the results are reflected on the app. This means that the app does not provide a real-time view of the current condition of one’s neighborhood.

Some other in the line are “Flu Near You,” and “The Flu Forecaster.”

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