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Fight the flu with your cellphone

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Coughing and sneezing comes this time of year. Five to 20 percent of the U.S. population will get the flu this year, but three apps can help fight the illness.

The influenza virus can live for two to eight hours on surfaces. This surprising fact and more are found on Flu Defender. With categories like symptom identifier, vaccine assistant and flu smart, users will find the resources they need to feel better.

If you can’t shake the flu symptoms alone, ZocDoc books you a doctor’s appointment through the app. It even has you enter your health insurance information for easy payment. You can view a doctors credentials, read real reviews and see their specialties so you know who’s best to treat you.

Finally, Sickweather’s five day map shows you where and how the flu’s progressed. And after flu season ends, use this app to track other respiratory infections, stomach viruses, allergies and childhood illnesses happening across the nation.

Remember, the flu is extremely contagious. It can be contracted through touching a surface with the flu virus or having germs land in your mouth, nose or eyes from an infected person. All three apps are free but a flu shot, enough sleep and a healthy diet are still the best ways to stay well.