Cold and flu season is here, which means that the sniffles, coughs and colds are inevitably in our futures. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu most commonly peaks between December and February, but the long season can extend beyond that.
Plenty of sleep, good nutrition and thorough handwashing go a long way in keeping our families healthy, but unfortunately, we can't prevent every illness, as much as we wish we could! While technology can't make you immune to viruses, it can provide helpful information when anyone in your family does catch a dreaded bug.
Here are seven helpful apps that parents should keep just a few taps away during the cold and flu season:
FluView is a helpful app from the CDC that lists flu activity across the nation, as well as by region. You can view particular states or just get a quick visual overview of where flu activity is the most active (watch out for the red zones!). This is particularly helpful if you're planning to travel and want to see how specific areas have been affected. (Free, iOS)
If you've ever been told the dreaded "the next available appointment is three weeks from now," ZocDoc will be a welcome savior. With an easy-to-use interface, all you have to do is type in the reason for the doctor visit, location, and insurance information, and you'll instantly be matched with high-quality, licensed providers in your area. You can book your appointment directly through the app. ZocDoc continues to expand its regions of coverage and now serves 2,000 cities. (Free, iOS and Android)
Doctor On Demand
Skipping the trip to the doctor altogether is possible with a Doctor On Demand consultation from the comforts of your own home. This app connects you to board-certified doctors in your state, via video conference. If your child has been up in the night coughing and you want reassurance from a pediatrician, this is a great and very handy option. Each doctor video chat "visit" is $40. (Free, iOS and Android)
Sometimes grandma's old remedies can ease mild symptoms and can be a soothing way to ease discomfort. The Home Remedies+ app provides all the recipes you need for many common ailments, like ginger tea for a cold, lemon and honey for a cough, and many more. Most of the recipes call for simple ingredients you likely have at home already, making it simple to try. (Free, iOS and Android)
Similar to FluView, can you get a quick glimpse of illness activity in your area, but Sickweather relies primarily on social media updates to gather this information. Using data from Facebook and Twitter updates, Sickweather provides real-time information based on people's posts and gives you a bird's eye view of activity in your area. (Free, iOS and Android)
When the inevitable happens and someone in your house gets sick, Icky Track provides you with a central repository where all activity can be tracked and monitored. Things like temperature readings, dosages, and symptoms, can be shared by parents and caregivers so everyone is in the know. It's also helpful to keep all data in one place, if you need a record for the pediatrician. (Free, iOS and Android)
If you're supposed to feed a cold, then you'll want to have a recipe app like Big Oven on hand for when homemade chicken soup beckons. But with more than 350,000 recipes, there's clearly so many more options for what ails you than just soup. This is a handy resource—with mouth-watering photos—to help nourish sick family members and also keep them healthy afterwards with nutritious meals. (Free; iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows Phone)