Hate being near sick people? There’s an app for that

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Save yourself.
Save yourself.
Image: Sickweather

Thanks to Sickweather, you can get a notification every time you enter the same airspace as a kid who might sneeze on you.

The app, which launched in November, uses Facebook statuses and tweets about runny noses to create its real-time map of contagion. That’s not a crazy idea: Social media and other online activity is a pretty good tracker of illness (in fact, research suggests that Wikipedia searches may take the cake when it comes to passive pandemic tracking). But Sickweather is taking that information mobile, alerting you whenever someone with that stomach virus that’s going around is lurking on your block. Sickweather now allows you to self-report your own illnesses, too, reminding you of your social responsibility to flag yourself as a germ-spewing monster.

Getting an alert when you might be close to a minor illness may seem like overkill. It would be a little nuts to avoid a place you need to enter for business or pleasure just because it might harbor a sick person. But in the event of a zombie apocalypse, we’ll be glad there’s already an app for mapping the infected.

And even in our pre-apocalyptic society, there’s one thing that Sickweather seems great for: Allergy sufferers can find out which areas have high pollen counts on a given day—if their fellow snifflers bother to self-report, that is.