Reports about the new swine flu surfaced last March. By April, there was an App for that. Now there are close to 30 swine flu-related Apps in Apple's Store, the most recent from Harvard Medical School.
The HMS Mobile Swine Flu Center, released October 22, aims to be a comprehensive source of credible information about the H1N1 virus. This is compared to, say, Ecoshop's Swine Flu Detector app, which "identifies whether you are in the room with someone carrying the virus" and comes with a "for entertainment purposes only" advisory.
Harvard's swine flu app features educational videos and a quick diagnostic questionnaire that tells users whether their symptoms are consistent with swine flu. (My favorite item on the symptom check list: "You feel confused, or others say you are confused.") There's also a business add-on for employers that contains office preparedness tips and a "Learn" section that allows users to submit flu-related questions to Harvard professors. All in all, a handy resource, but the $1.99 price tag seems a tad high.
Current Clinical Strategies Publishing released a similar application last spring that only costs $.99. Their H1N1 Swine Defender app includes a detailed "diagnosis evaluator" that allows users to email their results (to their doctors, presumably). But most of the information provided in this app, and Harvard's, is available for free online. Do you really need to pay $1 to learn that you should stay home if you have a fever, vomiting, and sore throat? And if you want to track H1N1 infections in your area, why not give Google Flu Trends or HealthMap a try? Both are free.