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New Website Tracks Sickness Via Social Media

Marlee McCormick for 1080 KRLD | CBSDFW.COM
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View of 'Allergies' map from SickWeather.com

View of ‘Allergies’ map from SickWeather.com

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With the recent drastic temperature changes many North Texans may be starting to feel under the weather. But did you ever wish you knew what illnesses were going around your neck of the woods before they got to you?

Just as weathermen use multiple high-tech radar scans of the skies for indicators of bad weather, a new website called SickWeather.com scans social media networks for indicators of illness, allowing you to check for the chance of sickness as easily as you can check for the chance of rain.

Sickweather.com CEO Graham Dodge says you can use the website to track illnesses, compare symptoms and see which viruses are going around in your area. “When friends or family post that they have a fever or that the kids have chicken pox on Facebook or Twitter, and it’s made public, we can track that and plot it on a map.”

According to the website: allergies, fever, and the common cold are the most common complaints of illness currently going around in the Central, Southeast and North Texas areas.

Dodge claims that in 2012, they were able to identify the start of the early flu season about six weeks before the CDC. “On our SickWeather map you can search up to 23 different illnesses and symptoms.” said Dodge.

The creator is also launching a mobile app for the iPhone that will enable users to get notifications when you enter a region designated as a ‘sick zone’ –  based on the reports of illness by other users.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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