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Smartphone Tips to Help Protect you During Flu Season

January 23, 2013

When classrooms are half full and cubicle banks half empty, you know flu season is upon us.

While not a cure, or even a replacement for a trip to the doctor, with nearly two-thirds of Americans now turning to the Internet to find information about health issues, technology can certainly help consumers cope with the seasonal plague. In two slideshows, Mashable this week examines how.

The first slideshow is a list of new devices that will help consumers steer clear of germs. Worried your preschooler left his classmates’ petri dish of germs on your smartphone? Mashable features the Violight Cell Phone Sanitizer, which can also be used to sanitize earbuds. Violight also offers a toothbrush sanitizer (sold separately) if one is worried his or her spouse snagged the brush. Other devices use ultraviolet light to kill 99 percent of bacteria on almost any surface. Finally, a night light will not only keep the monsters at bay, but will also purify the air in children’s rooms.

A second slideshow highlight six smartphone apps that are guaranteed to help readers make it through flu season. The first, ZocDoc, allows users to check their doctor’s availability and schedule an appointment. (Bonus: it’s free.) iTriage will help you analyze your symptoms and Seamless lets users order take out chicken soup from their sick bed. Other apps will remind you to take your prescription medicine (remember: finish the entire course – even if you feel better!) and allow you to stay in touch with friends (without infecting them).

Mashable doesn’t discuss it, but certainly one other way technology can help Americans survive the season is by allowing more employees to telework, or at least stay in touch with the office, from their homes. Fewer germs in the office, after all, means fewer cases of the flu.