11 iPhone Apps to Fight the Cold and Flu


Chilly winds blowing, people pulling out scarves and gloves, dusk at 4 p.m. — all signs indicate it’s the beginning of the winter… and cold and flu season. With so many remedies out there, what’s the best way to cure those colds (besides granny’s chicken soup)? This year, take a 21st-century approach to staying healthy with these 11 smartphone apps that can help treat the common cold and the flu (and maybe even prevent you from catching it in the first place).

The Apps


ZocDoc ZocDoc’s app takes the headache out of visiting the doctor’s office. Simply plug in your zip code and insurance plan, and find a list of doctors in the area with open appointments. Pick the time that works best and book your visit through the app for free. Perfect for anyone looking for a new doctor or specialist.
Free. Available for iOS and Android.


Fight the Flu This app is a comprehensive guide to everything flu-related. Learn how to identify flu symptoms, track flu outbreaks in your area, get treatment and prevention tips, and locate nearby pharmacies and emergency rooms.
Free. Available for iOS.


CDC FluView The official flu app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is all business. Get up-to-date information on flu trends as they develop, see flu activity levels throughout the country, and access state health departments for more local information. All of the information in the CDC FluView app is based on information collected from the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-Like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINET), so you know it’s legit.
Free. Available for iOS.


Sleep Cycle One of the best ways to stay healthy is to get plenty of sleep so the immune system can perform at its best. Waking up to a jarring, beeping alarm can be unpleasant, but it also can adversely affect overall sleep quality. Sleep Cycle is a smart alarm clock that analyzes your individual sleep cycles and gently wakes you up at the lightest part of the cycle. It uses the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer to monitor the very small movements that indicate which step of the sleep cycle you’re in.
$0.99. Available for iOS.


Livifi Looking for a more holistic way to prevent winter illness? A balanced diet, plenty of water, and lots of sleep may help stave off the sniffles. Use Livifi to create specific health goals, research scientific information about each aspiration, and track progress over time. The app syncs up to Livifi.com, so you can stay on top of health goals from the computer, too.
$4.99. Available for iOS.


Flu Defender This free app is an interactive launch pad to find anything you need to know about the flu, from symptoms to local flu activity. This app goes way beyond basic information with a “vaccine assistant” feature that can help you decide whether or not you need a flu shot, and a “vaccine finder” to (you guessed it!) find a local inoculation clinic. Stay updated with real-time news from blogs, podcasts, and the CDC Flu Twitter feed.
Free. Available for iOS.


Reader’s Digest Easy Home Remedies Take a leaf out of grandma’s book and try a DIY remedy before reaching for the antibiotics. Reader’s Digest, the longstanding casserole and closet-organization magazine, has this app for old-school cures from A to Z. Find remedies to cure or alleviate 74 injuries and illnesses, from acne to arthritis. The cold and flu cures are comprehensive, with many familiar techniques (like inhaling steam for a stuffy nose) as well as less-orthodox strategies, such as spritzing the throat with pepper spray.
Free. Available for iOS.


Time Off Too sick to go to work? Took an afternoon off to go to a doctor’s appointment? Keep track of your remaining vacation and sick days at work with this app. Add separate categories for different kinds of days off (sick, personal, vacation, etc.), share the calendar via email, or roll over unused days off from a previous pay period. Knowing exactly how many days off you still have comes in handy when making the decision to book 7 or 10 nights in Hawaii.
$1.99. Available for iOS.


iTherapy This app is a comprehensive guide to complementary or alternative therapies that can help you get over a cold or any other illness. The app includes information on how to find an alternative therapist, the benefits of non-Western medication, and precautions to take before signing up for a new treatment. Some examples include: meditation, reiki, aromatherapy, and hypnotherapy.
$1.99. Available for iOS.


WebMD Take the popular health site everywhere with the WebMD app. Use the Symptom Checker to ID a possible illness or injury, read the Drugs and Treatments section to find therapies for health problems, or find a medical professional in your area. For a more personal experience, enter your current medications and conditions to track, and even bookmark favorite articles.
Free. Available for iOS and Android.


Cures A-Z This app takes a whole-body, natural approach to staying healthy. Use the alphabetical list to find hundreds of health conditions and the corresponding alternative treatments to cure them. The app also has comprehensive information on nutrition including vitamins, minerals, and supplements, and the amounts of each to take for optimum health. Stay tuned for weekly Comprehensive Health updates from news, science, and blogs.
Free. Available for iOS and Android.

What’s your go-to gadget for staying healthy during cold and flu season? Let us know in the comments below or tweet the author at @SophBreene.

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[Note: These apps won't replace a good old visit to the doctor's office. Make sure to get checked if you're feeling severely under the weather.]

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About the Author
Sophia Breene
After spending eight years as a high school and college athlete, I'm learning how to maintain a healthy lifestyle on my own (aka without a coach...

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