health

This app can tell you if you're in danger of catching a cold.

Image: iStock.

There’s nothing pleasant about catching a cold, but one of the worst parts has to be not knowing when it’s going to happen.

As a result, we spend all winter feeling suspicious and assuming the worst. Someone sneezes on the bus; That’s it, I’m next. Your work neighbour’s eyes look more watery and red than they did yesterday; damnit, I’m done for.

We may never have a cure for this most common of ailments, but a new phone app that warns of impending colds and flus is a pretty decent consolation prize.

RELATED: How to do your makeup when you feel sick and revolting but have to leave the house.

It's called Healthyday, and it could save you wasting all your money on tissues and Strepsils this winter. (Post continues after gallery.)

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Developed by a division of Johnson and Johnson, the app uses an algorithm — which is synced with self-reported data from nearby medical offices, Google searches, reports from other app users and mentions on social media — to provide basic health tips tailored to your area.

So if the sniffles are invading your suburb, Healthyday will send an alert and you'll be able to see where people are being affected and even what symptoms are being reported.

RELATED: Not all cold and flu tablets are created equal. How to choose one for your symptoms.

In that way it's kind of like Tinder for colds, the difference being that it probably won't improve your dating prospects. Although, to be fair, people are more likely to date you if you're not buried under a pile of snotty tissues, so it might help after all.

TRUST NOBODY.
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Armed with this data, and some suggestions from the app, you can then take appropriate action (i.e. not leave the house unless strictly necessary) to ensure you won't suffer the same miserable fate. Ha! Take that, nasty cold virus.

The benefits don't end there. Healthyday can also let you know if pollen levels are triggering your peers' allergies, which will be very handy for hayfever sufferers come spring time.

RELATED: 8 things all hay fever sufferers are going through right now.

"[The goal is] to really give you this idea for the first time, the honest to God answer to 'what's going around'?" Eric Weisberg, executive creative director at ad agency JWT New York, tells Mashable. (Post continues after video.)


There are more than 200 individual viruses (yes — TWO HUNDRED) that can give you the common cold, so seeing them all plotted on a map will probably stop you ever leaving the safety of your bedroom again.

You've been warned.

Have you had a cold this year? 

A healthy diet is also important in protecting your body against the flu. Luckily that doesn't mean having to give up all your favourite foods (thanks science!).

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