PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Trying to figure out how your family is going to handle flu season? Want to know how many kids in your child's grade are sick with the flu?
There's an app for that.
Kinsa, a company that tracks health trends nationwide partnered with Lysol to give schools free smart thermometers to hand out to parents. The smart thermometer uses Bluetooth technology to sync to the free Kinsa app (available for both iOS and Android) on a parent's smartphone. It also collects and shares health info in real time.
Kinsa reps say the goal of the program is "earlier detection and earlier response to spreading illnesses in schools so students can stay in class learning."
"Kinsa has created the world’s first real time detection and response communication system to understand where illness is spreading and connect people to the products, services, and information that will help them get better."
This is the fifth year for Kinsa's nationwide FLUency program, but this is the first year Alhambra Traditional School near 27th Avenue and Bethany Home Road signed up to participate.
Out of the 800 students enrolled, 100 smart thermometers have been passed out to families at ATC, some of them with more than one child in their household. Parents create a profile and voluntarily take their child's temperature and click on the symptoms listed on the app. The data is then aggregated to build a picture of how many kids are sick in child's grade level.
ATS parents just got their free smart thermometers on Friday, so the school nurse hasn't seen any data yet. Once families start using the thermometer and app, the school nurse can see a chart showing the number of sick students by grade level. Parents can, too.
"I actually had no idea this type of technology existed," said ATS mom Katy Ugarte. "Sometimes you go to the doctor and you don't remember everything. It's like taking notes for you."
She added, "I find it very helpful. The app is very private. It just shows the grade level. It gives you an idea if they've been in contact with the flu so we know how to better prepare as parents."
Kinsa app reps assure the app is private and must comply with HIPAA and state laws.
Administrators at ATS believe the Fluency program will help with early detection and reduce the spread of the flu and other illnesses.
"It's exciting. It's bringing technology into a paper pencil world," said the schools outreach coordinator Amanda Stegen. "We wanted to bring in this program to help alleviate absences and empower our parents. It's a tool where they can see if there are trends in the classroom whether to keep their kid at home, take him to the doc, or they're fine, take them to school."
"It's the same kind of thing with Kinsa as it is with Apple Watch, Fitbits, all those devices," he explained. "All those devices collect that same type of information, and we have to take wise steps to make sure that our software is up to date, our hardware is up to date, and we know who we're sharing it with and, if we're not comfortable, turn it off."
SCHOOLS PASSING OUT FREE THERMOMETERS TO PARENTS
Imagine Avondale in Avondale
Canon Elementary in Black Canyon City
Freedom Elementary in Buckeye
Eagle Ridge Elementary in north Phoenix
Magma Ranch in Florence
Greenbrier Elementary in Glendale
Keller Elementary in Mesa
Porter Elementary in Mesa
Hermosa Elementary in Mesa
Sonoran Science Academy in Peoria
Alhambra Traditional School in Phoenix
Byron A. Barry School in Phoenix
Cartwright Early Childhood Center Phoenix
Eagle College Prep in Phoenix
Silvestre S. Herrera School in Phoenix
Mountain View Elementary in Prescott Valley
Sandpiper Elementary School in Scottsdale
Thatcher Elementary School in Thatcher