‘Know what’s going on around us:’ Thermometer app tracks student illnesses at Cushing Elementary

MILWAUKEE -- As the deadly flu outbreak continues this season, one local school has decided to take a so-called "smart" approach to beating the bug.

It's as easy as one, two, "beep."

Ann Mirek checks her son Callen's temperature, but not in any ordinary way.

"If he is not feeling well, I go to this right away," said Mirek.

Mirek uses a smart thermometer made by Kinsa. Parents at Cushing Elementary are part of the few who were outfitted with the high-tech gear as part of "FLUency" -- a free school health program which helps them detect illnesses.

"There's things like chills, cough, earache, headache, nausea, rash, runny nose," said Mirek.

It connects the information to an app downloaded onto your smartphone which helps keep track of fever reading, symptom diagnoses, medication doses and other notes in a time-stamped log.

"It will tell you this is what you can do to alleviate symptoms at this point you should consider consulting a physician," said Melinda Vose, Cushing Elementary School nurse.

Melinda Vose, Cushing's school nurse, says it also monitors sicknesses going around the school in an anonymous way.

"So you will see seven kids are out with stomach flu, seven kids are reporting high fever, coughs," said Vose.

Melinda Vose

Vose is thankful to be able to implement the tool.

"Some parents have told me it helps me make a decision should I keep my child home from school, but it also gives me enough data that some parents don't report symptoms and I see grouping more often," said Vose.

Being in the midst of one of the worst flu seasons, the tool helps with prevention.

"The goal is to pick up diseases that are increasing in the school community in an effort to minimize and mitigate the effects of those illnesses," said Vose.

The knowledge may have already played a role at the school this year.

Cushing Elementary School

"Of the six schools in Kettle Moraine, this year Cushing was not the hardest hit with the influenza. We had other schools that had several days where they had ten percent of children out with influenza. We dodged a bullets here at Cushing," said Vose.

While those at Cushing Elementary hope to keep germs to a minimum, they hope the concept spreads.

Ann Mirek

"As more people start using it within the school, it's more powerful to know what's going on around us," said Mirek.

Only three schools in Wisconsin were accepted into the program. Until your school gets on board, you can get a thermometer individually and use it for your family to track your own health history as well. CLICK HERE for more.