Feel the flu

What is this?

This Web Application is a first proof of concept. It is designed to provide you with information about your personal risk of getting the flu. But in order to calculate your risk, this app needs some basic information about yourself.

Your age

I am between years old.

Your working environment

At my work place the closest colleague sits about centimeters away from me.

Your city

So what does your risk look like?

Sorry, your city is not based in an OECD-country.

This is the price tag on your flu risk. If you get the flu, this is the minimum amount of money it will cost you.

But how did the app calculate this?

First of all, this is a calculation based on two factors: Your age and the average wage in your country. The average wage is calculated by using most recent OECD data on the annual average wage and dividing it by 365 days. This is the price for one day of productivity being lost, if you are ill.

Then the app looks at your age. When people out of the age group of 0 to 4 or out of the age group of over 65 years get sick, this results in a loss of productivity of at least one day. However, if they are in between 5 and 64, this is different. People in this age span tend to recover more quickly. The baseline risk is therefore half a day lost in terms productivity. So the age is an important factor in terms of the financial risk.

BUT WAIT?!? How can a toddler or a retired person mean a loss of productivity? They should not be working.

Well, that is a fair question to ask. But the reason why their flu still causes costs is that the family has to take care of them. So even if the infected person is not working, this still means a loss of productivity. All these calculations are based on a study by Molinari et al.

Now, let's look on your risk factors.

The colour code the app uses for rating your risk is simple and functions as follows:

low-level risk

mid-level risk

high-level risk


Your risk based on your age-group

To calculate this risk, I used again this study by Molinari et al. which gives a value for the attack risk for each of the age groups. 0 to 4 years old have the highest risk. 5 to 17 and 65 plus have a mid-level risk of getting the flu and people with an age between 18 to 64 years have the lowest attack risk.

Your risk based on your working environment

Numbers differ regarding the distance that aerosols can travel after a sneeze. While generally it is said that the distance is about one to two meters, there are also examples of droplets travelling even 8 meters under certain conditions. Uargh!!! Here, the app is based on data from a study by Bischoff et al., which found aerosols even at a distance of 1.8 meters away from a sneezing patient. The threshold between red and yellow risk is therefore set at a distance of 1.6 meter. The threshold between yellow and blue was set to a distance of 2.3 meters.

Your risk based on city that you live in

This one is the trickiest. A lot of geobased data on influenza is only available for certain countries or areas, or the quality of the data differs greatly between countries. Hence, another approach was chosen. This study by Shaman et al. showed that there is a correlation between unusually low absolute humidity and outbreaks of flu. This app therefore compares current humidity data for your city to the average humidity for the same day in the three previous years. Depending on how much it is drier than in the previous years, the flu risk is classified as blue, yellow or red.

The overall result

Finally, let's look at the overall result for your flu risk:

Please be patient!

The data base sometimes needs a little time to load.

Serious thread!

The sum of our indicators say that there is a high chance for you to get the flu. You should therefore wash your hands and your mouth frequently, use disinfectant and maybe even consider getting a vaccination.

Keep your guard up

Your risk of getting the flu is fairly acceptable. However, there are some indicators telling you to be cautious. Keep tissues around you and get enough rest so that your immune system is strong enough to fight the flu.

You should be safe

Never say never, but the chance of you getting the flu right now is low. Your area does not seem to be a hotspot for the flu and also you are not in an environment or an age group that has a high risk level. Get some vitamins every now and then and you should be alright.

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