This year's flu season came early and hard. Flu activity was recorded in nearly every state and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus may stick around for a while. Thankfully, the tablet is here to rescue us. Social media is abuzz with new apps promising to do everything from locate who may have transmitted the sickness to offering "doctor-approved" tricks for beating the virus. Joking aside, local public health agencies, the CDC and others are relying on social media to help track the spread of the disease.

Facebook: "Help, My Friend Gave Me the Flu" lets Facebook users troll their friends' pages to see who has posted about flu-like symptoms.

Sickweather: This site also tries to pull out health reports from social media status updates.

Google! Flu Trends: Lets users identify trends at the state level.

Twitter: Flu Near You asks people to update their symptoms weekly.

Healthmap: This site, sponsored by Boston Children's Hospital, and launched in 2006, offers real-time surveillance data. It has
up-to-the-minute Twitter reports.