App Alerts You to Nearby Sickness

Want to know if you’re headed toward a place filled with coughing, sneezing carriers? Check your mobile device. 

Just in time for holiday travel and flu season, Sickweather (, a Baltimore company that tracks illness, has launched its first mobile app for the iPhone to alert users in real time when they enter sick zones, or areas near reports of illness gathered from social media.

Sickweather is the first app to use big data from social media, along with Apple iOS’s geo-fencing and notification technologies, to serve health alerts.

For example, when someone publicly posts “Ugh, I have the flu” on Twitter or Facebook, Sickweather qualifies that report using a patent-pending process and plots it on a map. When Sickweather app users travel near that report, they get a real-time alert notification on their phone warning them of proximity to flu. 

“What users do at that point is up to them,” says Graham Dodge, CEO and co-founder of Sickweather.

Billed as “the world’s first Doppler radar for sickness,” the app allows users to “choose from several illnesses,” including flu, norovirus (a possible outbreak was recently reported in Michigan), pink-eye (conjunctivitis) and whooping cough (pertussis). 

Once you know the risks, you can wash your hands, get a vaccine, buy medication or take other preventive measures, Dodge notes. “We believe that the net effect of this … awareness will help reduce the spread of illness and reduce health care costs,” he says.

In version 1.0 for iOS 7, users can view reports of up to 23 different symptoms and illnesses on a map, as well as four groups of illnesses related to respiratory, gastrointestinal, environmental and childhood illnesses.

The app is available in the App Store as a free download