Schools in Kannapolis try fighting the flu with smart thermometer

Schools in Kannapolis try fighting the flu with smart thermometer

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - Some schools are using new technology to help keep track of the germs your kids are exposed to while in class. It’s called a smart thermometer.

The smart thermometer is a part of what’s called the FLUency program. It’s a national health program by Kinsa - a company that makes smart thermometers and tracks the flu in real-time. Kannapolis is just one school district in our area using it and school nurses say they are seeing a difference.

It can be tough for any of us to fight the flu, with children, even harder. Aneisa Woodward says the last thing she wants is to see her 8-year-old granddaughter Harmony get sick and miss school.

“We’re lucky. We have not had any sickness so far,” said Woodward.

Woodward says the smart thermometer that was given to her – and to other families at Jackson Park Elementary – is the secret weapon. Her granddaughter is in the 2nd grade and right now and there’s not one report of the flu for the rest of the 7 and 8-year-olds who are in her granddaughter’s class.

“It’s a good weapon in our arsenal,” said Woodward.

The technology behind the smart thermometer is that it works with an app downloaded onto parents’ phones.

Alisha Palmer, the school’s nurse, is able to send out important information to parents about the kind of germs and viruses' other students may have.

“I’ve had parents message me because they are going in there every day and they’re looking and they’re saying we see that the flu is starting around their child’s grade. [They ask], ‘What do I need to look out for? Or, here’s what we’re doing. Can I send you guys extra cleaning supplies?’ Parents are really taking that initiative," said Palmer.

Palmer also says there are a lot of parents she works with who just can’t afford doctor visits or don’t have medical insurance. This thermometer is a particular benefit to those families.

Once a child who is not feeling well has his or her temperature read by the thermometer, parents can select any symptoms the child is having on the app, and the app will tell them what to do in step-by-step form.

“It’s not a fever. Just hydrate, or now it’s time to give ibuprofen or Tylenol. This is a stage now that we should be visiting the doctor. It takes a lot of the guess work out,” said Woodward in reference to app’s guidance.

Kids sometimes have friends at other nearby schools and this app also allows parents to also see any flu reports and other illnesses those schools too.

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