Beat the Common Cold with Smart Technology

Each year in the United States, there are millions of cases of the common cold, and it’s the main reason children miss school and adults miss work, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

With the season of sniffles, sore throats and runny noses just around the corner, it’s a good time to make sure you are on top of your family’s health. These handy apps and gadgets will help you minimize those sick days and the stress that comes with them.

Apple’s Health app comes standard with the latest version of iOS. You can set up health data and track health information from multiple sources, including compatible apps and fitness accessories and even track health records from your doctor’s office so you have all of your important information at your fingertips. The Medical ID feature helps first responders access your critical medical information, including who to contact in case of an emergency, from the Lock screen, without needing your passcode. The Bedtime feature monitors your sleep to make sure you’re getting maximum zzz’s for optimum health. Android users: check out Google Fit and MyChart for similar features.

Regular exercise is important year-round and especially during cold and flu season. It boosts your immune system giving the body a better shot at battling those nasty bugs. Most phones can now double as pedometers and activity trackers; you just need to remember to keep your phone on you at all times to get an accurate picture. This is where wearable fitness trackers come in handy. You just put it on and go. The Jawbone UP2 Rope Fitness Band and UP app give you an all-in-one personal trainer and health coach. The Smart Coach feature offers personalized health tips and recognizes the smallest changes in your routine. It tracks your activity, including heart rate and calories burned, monitors your quality of sleep, calorie and nutrient intake, and more.

Just as Doppler radar scans the skies for indicators of bad weather, Sickweather, a free app for iOS and Android, scans social networks for indicators of illness, allowing you to check for the chance of sickness as easily as you can check for the chance of rain. Featured on the Today Show, CNET, in Time magazine and more, Sickweather serves up real-time sickness alerts when you enter a sick zone and has a Live Map feature where you can find recent illness reports across the country.

Plenty of exercise, sleep, good nutrition, and let’s not forget thorough handwashing, go a long way in staying healthy. And with a little bit of help from the latest technology, you can stay even further ahead of the game and the germs!

Heidi Raker, mother of three tech-obsessed teens, has written about lifestyle products and parenting for over 30 years. She has a no-cellphone-at-meals policy, which remains one of her biggest family challenges.