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This high-tech tool could keep your kids healthier

Posted at 4:30 AM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 06:58:35-04

CINCINNATI -- If you have kids, you have colds; they're as intrinsic to the American family as bedtime stories. And when a germ starts making the rounds in your house, you might assume you know the culprit: School, where hundreds of children breathe, sneeze and cough near one another on the daily.

Administrators at Oakdale Elementary hope that a new "smart" thermometer will help them keep an eye on sicknesses circulating among the student body and take action to contain them.

(The sicknesses, not the students.)

"The whole goal is to have early detection of illness and an early response to illness," Oak Hills district nurse Holly Reilly said. 

The Kinsa app, which connects to the free thermometers every student and teacher received, collects anonymous data that lets administrators see trends in temperatures and symptoms among the general population of users.

"I was very fortunate to know that, when I started to display certain symptoms, several children in my class had strep," teacher Lindsey Stephens said. "So I probably didn't want to wait it out, and I wanted to go get checked sooner than later."

Reilly said she hoped that widespread use of the app would mean better health for families and fewer absences for students in the long term.

"I think when they see from the app's trends, they might intervene sooner than typically," she said. "At school, maybe if we know the classrooms that have been hit harder, we might have a harder custodial staff come in and clean the classrooms as well."