The state of American health, as told by Twitter

twitter sickest states americas cities and assets editions 01 03 09
If taking to the Internet and posting about your runny nose isn’t the first thing you think to do when you’re sick, you may actually be in the minority. Thanks to the oversharing society we’ve created as a result of social media platforms, researchers have turned to an unlikely source to track health trends and the spread of disease: Twitter.

The folks over at Bay Alarm Medical took a closer look at nearly 500,000 geotagged tweets to determine just what people were saying about being sick, and where in the U.S. they were saying it. When combining this crowdsourced data with information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the team managed to come up with a broad-level overview of sickness across the country.

So what sicknesses are residents in your home state battling? Bay Alarm Medical has the Twitter-based answers.


When it comes to the most common terms associated with being sick, unsurprisingly, “I’m sick” is 34 percent more popular of a term than its next closest competitor (“fever”). So yes, America — when you’re sick, apparently you do want to share your misery with the world. The most common illness discussed is another no-brainer: the “flu” is mentioned nearly 13 times more frequently than the No. 2 illness, the more specific “stomach flu.”


When it comes to our sickest states, it looks like Middle America is more prone to disease (or talking about it on Twitter, at least). Ohio takes the lead, with around 164 tweets regarding illness for every 100,000 residents. And considering that Ohio is ranked 22nd in the country for prevention of infectious disease (struggling with low public health funding and a high rate of obesity, diabetes, and smoking), Twitter may be a pretty accurate reflection of broader issues across the state.

Texas takes second place, and the CDC notes a high percentage of uninsured residents and low immunization rates among children and adolescents. Nevada comes third, and Bay Alarm notes that this state suffers from low per capita public health funding as well as low immunization rates and a high percentage of uninsured residents. Both Louisiana and Michigan (fourth and fifth, respectively) also have issues with low health insurance and immunization rates.


One of the more interesting analyses Bay Alarm performed looks at the difference in tweets between men and women across the country when it comes to illnesses. Unsurprisingly, women tweeted most frequently about having a sick partner or sick child. To their credit, men also tweeted most often about having a sick wife, but the second most popular tweet term was “hepatitis.” Yikes.


Finally, with a belated flu season currently in full swing, Bay Alarm Medical also took a look at the sickest times of the year and days of the week. Normally, sickness-related tweets peak in December and January, then drops precipitously in April before hitting their lowest point in June. As the kids go back to school in September, there’s an uptick in illness, with elementary school children averaging eight to 12 cases of cold or flu per year.


When it comes to days of the week, surprisingly enough, it’s not Monday that’s the chief culprit, but rather its friend Tuesday. The weekend, however, sees many fewer mentions of being sick (probably because you’re telling yourself to just power through).

For more fascinating social media insights regarding the state of our country’s health as told by Twitter, head over here and check out the full findings.


The best CES 2019 health gadgets combat stress, pain, and more

We can all use some help with our health and CES 2019 was packed with intriguing devices designed to combat pain and stress, help you monitor blood pressure, reduce tinnitus, and care for the sick or elderly.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.

Everything we know about the Nokia 6.2, which might arrive in January

The Nokia 6.1 was our favorite budget phone of 2018, so we were always going to get excited when details of a successor came to light. However, the Nokia 6.2 will exceed those expectations if leaks are true.

If we get a Nintendo 64 Classic, it needs to have these games

The Nintendo 64 introduced a long list of top-tier games, but which were the iconic platform's best? From Mario Party to Ocarina of Time to NFL Blitz, check out our picks for the best N64 games.

Every gaming laptop that was announced at CES 2019, ranked

Looking for a new gaming laptop? You're in luck, as we compiled and ranked all the gaming notebooks that were announced at CES this year. Be sure to take a look at the latest models with AMD or Nvidia chips before you buy.

VisionCheck might give you the option to ditch your visit to your optometrist

A new gadget enables you to test your eyes yourself at home. Using the EyeQue VisionCheck, an automated optical device, you can measure your eyes' refractive error and find out what strength of glasses you need.
Product Review

Garmin’s 4G LTE VivoActive 3 keeps you safe when you’re out on the trails

Garmin takes its already great VivoActive 3 Music fitness smartwatch and adds a 4G LTE connection, courtesy of Verizon. The watch now has streaming music, independent GPS, and best of all, SMS support and various safety features. We’ve…

Digital Trends Top Tech of CES 2019 Award Winners

5G. A.I. Voice assistants. Metaverse. Yes, metaverse. CES 2019 slathered on the buzzwords thick and heavy, but beneath the breathless hype and bluster, there were amazing products to back it up, too. Except metaverse. C’mon Nissan, you…

Want to eat healthy in 2019? 10 everyday kitchen products from Walmart can help

If 2019 is the year you curb your delivery habit and start getting intimate with your kitchen. After all, you want to eat well. The only problem is that you’re not sure how to begin. Here are some fantastic kitchen products to aid your…
Emerging Tech

This energy-generating treadmill cuts your waistline and your power bill

Fitness equipment maker SportsArt was on hand at CES 2019 with its latest piece of sustainable sports equipment - the electricity-generating Verde G690 treadmill.
Emerging Tech

Stomach implant device uses jolts of electricity to fight obesity

An implant created at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could help fight obesity by attaching to users' stomachs and then suppressing feelings of hunger using jolts of electricity.

Before buying a Fitbit or Apple Watch, check out these fitness trackers under $50

Fitbit and Apple Watch are top of the line when it comes to fitness trackers but if you want to save, we have alternatives. If 2019 is the year you keep track of your health and budget your expenses, then take a look at these fitness…
Product Review

One breath into this device could change what you eat forever

Anyone living with a food intolerance knows the pain — literally and figuratively — of dealing with it, and even identifying what the cause of the problem is. The FoodMarble Aire wants to solve this, and we took a closer look at CES…
Health & Fitness

Futuristic mask filters out air pollution for cyclists and runners

A concern for cyclists in urban environments is staying safe from airborne pollutants. A cycling mask shown off at CES 2019 could help combat this problem by blocking out air pollution to keep cyclists' lungs clear as they ride.