Saturday April 19th 2014

Got the flu? Find out which so-called friend gave it to you

By: Shannon Bryan

Everybody’s sick. It seems we’re all hacking, sneezing, aching, and all-out miserable.

(It’s serious, too: Flu deaths force Boston to declare health emergency this week and in today’s new: Influenza in Maine becoming ‘epidemic’, via

We could spend our time buried under fleece, clenching wads of Kleenex, cursing the human immune system, and daydreaming about all the colorful phrases there are to describe the act of throwing up.

Or we can find out who did it.

Wait, really? Can we truly ever know who gave us the flu? Can we ever identify the cruel culprit who condemned us to days of phlegm, exhaustion, and nausea?


Facebook’s Help, I Have the Flu app will narrow down suspects and help you identify who got you sick, thanks to keyword searches in news feeds and a suggestion based on who lives nearby.

Of course, it’s not exactly scientific. It’s unlikely that a friend from Illinois – whom I haven’t seen in person in nearly a decade – gave me anything other than a holiday card. But she’s the flu-dispensing source of my sneeze, according to Facebook. Then again, there could have been something in that holiday card…

Help, I have the Flu app