Two Richmond County schools in program to track illness

In a world of smartphones, smart cars and more, there is now a smart thermometer.


After the new year, Goshen Elementary School and Lake Forest Hills Elementary School will begin a new program through Kinsa, a company that produces a thermometer connected to an app that can give suggestions based on the child’s temperature. A new program called FLUency, will give parents the ability to track illnesses going through their schools.

“It helps parents answer the question, ‘what do I do now?’” said Nita Nehru, FLUency director at Kinsa .

One success story, Nehru said, came from a mother whose son began running a fever. After checking the app, she learned the flu was going around in his school. She was able to get him to the doctor, who prescribed Tamiflu in time to treat the illness. The medication is usually not effective after 48 hours of contracting the virus.

It also give nurses such as Claudina Jones of Goshen Elementary School and Jenna Daniels from Forest Hills Elementary School the opportunity to let parents know when illness is spreading, via the app. The two nurses submitted an application to bring the product into their schools. Approximately 4,000 schools across the country applied, according to Nehru, but only 200 were selected to receive the thermometers.

“We’re hoping this will help keep students healthy and show up for school more,” said Cheryl Fry, the principal of Goshen Elementary School.

The program, Fry said, will also help to provide thermometers to families who might not have one and ensure their child does not bring an illness to school.

While the app may be helpful, Dr. Chitra Mani of AU Medical Center’s pediatric infectious disease department said it could lead to “hysteria,” with parents suspecting their child might have something he or she doesn’t have. Mani recommended good hygiene practices to prevent illness and to always consult with a doctor to make a proper diagnosis.

Nehru said it might eventually be possible to offer the program to entire communities, not just individual schools. This would give people a chance to see what illnesses are prevalent throughout their city.