Think you are coming down with the flu? Before you grab a glass of OJ or heat up some chicken soup, doctors are hoping you will Tweet or blog your symptoms.  Health agents are using social media to search the Web and track the Internet for disease trends.  There’s even a blog post and Twitter account for @h1n1alliance to keep the public up to date with the H1N1 disease via their Tweets, blog and http://www.h1n1alliance.org website.  A recent @hin1alliance Tweet, for instance, indicated, “doctors must assume that all flu cases are the H1N1 virus” and directed us Twitters to their blog for more information.

swine flu h1n1Health Officials are hoping we will get feed updates from sites like the Center for Disease Control’s website http://www.cdc.gov or on Twitter via @CDCFlu and @CDCEmergencies.  In addition, they hope we will become proactive and use social media to tell them when we are getting sick.  So, if we actually do happen to get the flu they want to know whom we’ve been in contact with and can track this information via our Tweets, blogs and websites.  It really is a very innovative way to use social media for social good.

According to a Washington Post article, Flu Trackers Encourage Patients to Blog About It, “As health officials gear up for the flu season amid the global H1N1 pandemic, technology and new forms of Internet social interaction are transforming how such outbreaks are monitored. “All these things really change the way that we can manage diseases,” said Alessandro Vespignani, professor of informatics at Indiana University. “It’s not just . . . a passive approach, where we just wait for the disease and then try to do something.”

Agencies Worldwide Use Web to Encourage Citizens to Do Their Own Flu Tracking – washingtonpost.com

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