Two elementary schools in Waxahachie ISD were selected to be part of the 200 schools provided with the FLUency program, which offers parents a smart thermometer and an app to help detect illnesses that are carried in the school.
Kinsa is the program that created the smart thermometer and they have partnered with Lysol to deliver this program to schools for the past two years. This year, both Shackelford and Felty Elementary schools were selected.
FLUency director at Kinsa, Nita Nehru, said their mission is to help track and stop the spread of illnesses.
Through the FLUency program, parents who agree to participate are equipped with smart thermometers that give a degree of temperature and then tracks the symptoms on an app to give advice on what steps should be taken next, based on the fever and description provided.
“Kinsa does not diagnose anything which is an important distinction and we’re not a substitute for medical advice. It really helps you understand what’s going around so you can get that early detection and go into the doctor for early response and treatment,” Nehru explained.
Nehru said the app that coordinates with the smart thermometer is like “having a record in your pocket.”
Once a parent takes the temperature, icons on the app appear to help record the situation. The app also keeps health history of as many children in the household, organizing data of symptoms, temperatures and diagnoses from doctors. It’s convenient access for the parent.
The smart thermometer has won eight parent and design awards including Best of Baby Award, Medical Innovation Award from the Cleveland Clinic.
This product can also be purchased at local retailers like Walgreens, Target and Amazon.
Nehru said both elementary schools qualified for the free program because the school’s communities had a motived and engaged point person to help spread to and educate the program to parents. Since it does require parents to participate, schools needed to have an active and engaged parent population. The school community also had to have a high-level of smartphone usage, since it’s based from an app.
The app tracks common diagnoses of child-born illnesses like whooping cough, RSV, the common cold, flu, stomach virus, mono and more. The app also breaks down what illnesses are reported by parents for each grade level to give parents more context.
The product is USDA cleared and has been vetted and cleared through the Food and Drug Administration.
Also, since the Kinsa partnered with Lysol, parents participating get exclusive offers and deals on disinfecting products and medications like Delsym and Mucinex.
Kinsa’s program is thorough as their motto is “Prepare, prevent and support.”
“We prepare families for cold and flu season, and arm them with the information and tools and products that they need to stay healthy,” Nehru said. “Then, prevent illness from spreading. Then, support them throughout the course of the season with relevant information on how to keep a family healthy and support them by allowing them to understand what’s going around in their local community.”
Linda Horn, the registered nurse at Shackelford Elementary said the parents are being informed about the program through a brochure on Dec. 1. Then, parents have until Dec. 31 to register for the product. Horn said she hopes parents take advantage of this opportunity.
“I think they will really benefit from it because they can keep a history by keeping more than one child on the app and look at the comparison of what illnesses they have and how they are treated. Because, if you have three or four kids, you kind of forget who had what,” Horn said.
She added, “I hope it will allow to be ahead of the game to keep kids from coming to school ill. That’s the big issue is when they come to school with a fever because that’s when they’re going to be more contagious.”
Nehru gave some general statics on illnesses:
• Every year, 30,000 Americans die from the flu, largely being elderly and young people.
• Children get the common cold anywhere from three to eight times a year. It’s the most common reason why children are out of school.
• Families of four have a virus in the home 29 weeks out of the year.