Utah ranked sickest state this week by health company; this app may help track your illness

Stock image | Photo by Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — With Utah recently earning the ranking of sickest state in the country this week, a health-based company is bringing to light ways to track the spread of illness.

A screenshot of data on flu-like symptoms in the U.S. | Image courtesy of Kinsa, St. George News | Click to enlarge

According to data from Kinsa, a company consisting of health officials able to track where flu-like illness is spreading with the help of their smart thermometers, Utah is currently the sickest state in the country. Over 182,400 people reported experiencing flu-like symptoms in Utah this week, which is a 96 percent increase from last week.

People considered at the highest risk of getting the flu include pregnant women, people 65 and older and children. Kinsa has paid close attention to the spread of illness in children through its program FLUency, which aims to track and stop the spread of illness in elementary schools by cohesively using a thermometer and smart phone app.

Out of 500 available spots in the nation, three elementary schools in Cedar City were chosen this month to participate in the school health program, allowing families and schools nurses to receive free Kinsa smart thermometers because of its partnership with Lysol. Those schools include Three Peaks, Iron Springs and East Elementary.

The thermometers are sold at retail stores, such as Target where it’s sold for $40, and online at Amazon for $20.

“One thing I hear every year from hundreds of school nurses is come Monday morning, there’s a line of children waiting to get their temperature taken,” said Jared Flamm, director of the FLUency program.

Flamm told St. George News the Kinsa thermometers are able to do more than a normal thermometer when it’s used with the app because you are able to input your temperature into the app and track your symptoms.

A screenshot of how the Kinsa app works and its thermometer | Image courtesy of Kinsa, St. George News | Click image to enlarge

With the Kinsa app, you’re able to input your temperature, select what symptoms you have and include a diagnosis. The app also allows you to track what medications you’re taking and sets alarms for when to take them.

When Kinsa gave away the free thermometers, it also gave schools access to a private school group in the app, where parents, teachers and school nurses can anonymously check the app to see how many children in a school have certain symptoms or illnesses.

If you input a certain symptom, such as nausea or headache, pop ups appear on how to help treat the symptom and when you should be concerned or seek medical attention because of that symptom.

“It takes a little less strain off of the school nurse in terms of how busy the clinic is,” Flamm said, referring to the app. “It also gives them the same results they would get in the clinic by being able to go into the app and saying, ‘Hey, it looks like there are this many fevers going around our school this week.”

The Kinsa app is available for Android and Apple products. To learn more about the app, click here. For information on 2018 flu data in Utah, you can visit the Utah Department of Health’s website.

Email: mheckenliable@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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