Free app and thermometer helps parents track spread of illnesses

AFFTON, MO - There's a new way to track the flu or other illnesses and how they spread.

Mesnier Primary School is one of 40 St. Louis area schools chosen to try out the new and free Kinsa app. It was recently accepted into the company’s FLUency program.

School nurse Karen Laubert said the app when downloaded comes with a free thermometer. The nurse said that when a sick child comes into her office all she has to do is take their temperature which produces a digital number on the app, then type in a child’s symptoms and Kinsa will spit out the necessary steps to take.

Laubert said the confidential app has been instrumental in early detection, allowing families to get their children to the doctor faster and prevent sicknesses from spreading.

“We are able to isolate classrooms to figure out who or where it might be evolving from, especially kids that are coming in with the aches and the chills and higher temperatures,” Laubert explained.

For mother of five, Catherine Serra, the app has especially been helpful in determining when her children are displaying symptoms and if she needs to keep any of them at home.

“My youngest woke up with a headache and a stomach ache, she didn’t have a fever because I took it on the app,” Serra said, “and I noticed there were two kids in her grade that had strep throat so I took her to urgent care just to rule that out.”

Laubert said that the new tool also plays a big part in reducing unnecessary school absences.

“Attendance is better,” she said, “we get them out when their symptoms are first starting and then they are gone. 24-48 hours later they are back healthier.”

Laubert said the app has even helped cut down on the number of sick calls she has to make to parents.

“I’ll go through the list, and I’ll say ‘You don’t have this going on or that going on, let’s rest for five minutes and let’s go back to class again,” she said.