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Killer Apps That Could Keep You Healthy

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health app, illustration

The FoodFeed app, designed during a PNNL competition, warns users about recalls on products like food or over-the-counter medicine.

Credit: PNNL

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) recently hosted a competition in which graduate students designed two mobile apps, called FoodFeed and FL•U, to fight the threats of food-related illnesses and the flu, respectively.

FoodFeed alerts users about threats that come from food, whether it is from a grocery store or restaurant. The app has three tabs, one of which is a news feed featuring articles and alerts on food recalls, illness outbreaks, and other breaking consumer-safety information. The second tab shows health code violations at restaurants. The third tab provides general information on the risks associated with food.

FL•U enables users to share if they have influenza or flu-like symptoms. Users can create a customized avatar that visually displays symptoms that users submit. The app could benefit local health departments, and enable users to see how many people are sick in their area.

"Whether it's a natural disaster or a disease outbreak, a public health event can come out of nowhere," says PNNL research analyst Chrissie Noonan, who helped mentor the students. "We're asking how we can stay ahead of the curve, and one answer is to develop mobile tools."

From Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
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