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Weather Channel app now gives flu warnings via IBM Watson

Dr Watson is in. IBM has announced that the latest version of The Weather Channel app comes with warnings of when the flu is likely to be spreading through your local area, thanks to insights from its Watson artificial intelligence.

The idea is that with this advanced warning, you stand a bit more chance of avoiding coming down with the flu by avoiding unnecessary engagements until the risk has passed. Though obviously that won’t help people with regular 9-to-5 work to attend. 

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Using IBM Watson’s machine learning, the app will now dole out notifications when influenza is spreading like wildfire, and provide a 15-day flu forecast to your area. The app will also provide prevention advice, although if our experience this winter is anything to go by, then everyone is going to get it at some point no matter how careful they are.

Hopefully this won’t make you so fearful of illness that you try and avoid leaving the house, and will just make you a bit more wary in high-flu conditions. The Weather Company, makers of the app, certainly thinks it’ll be useful, having commissioned research that shows 83% of respondents believe that avoiding flu is important. Despite this, the company’s research shows, 37% of respondents don’t bother with the flu shot, so they can’t think it’s *that* important.

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Given the research shows that flu shot uptake is higher in older generations, the company hopes that an app will boost good health in app-friendly millennials, where just 23% bother getting the shot. 

The app is available to download now on iOS and Android. If you’ve already been downed by the flu, then this may be too little, too late – but there’s always next year.   

Will you be putting your health in Dr Watson’s virtual hands? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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