Clovis kids testing health app as flu peaks in Central Valley

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Central Valley schools are seeing a spike in absences because of the flu season. (KFSN)

Even in the first week back from break, school nurses are staying busy with students showing symptoms of sickness.

"Our teachers are very aware," said Central Unified School Superintendent Mark G. Sutton. "If they see somebody who's struggling or not feeling 100%, they might send them to the nurse so the nurse can look at them, you know, take the temperature, you know, ask some questions."

Before kicking off the new year, administrators at Central Unified emailed parents and kids some advice on avoiding the flu -- like washing your hands, and keeping those hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.

But at Teague Elementary School, nurse Robbie Simpson is still seeing students with high temperatures and checking for other signs of the flu. Clammy skin or a headache could tip her off.

But over at Miramonte Elementary in Clovis Unified, the school nurse may already know kids are getting sick. They're part of a pilot program by Kinsa Health offering smart thermometers to all 680 students.

The company's handout video shows how the device feeds information to an app tracking health trends across the country, and specifically at the school.

"It's wonderful for flu season because we can really see what type of flu is going around, what the common symptoms are of this flu and when it generally starts and it's good to let everyone be aware of that," said Miramonte teacher Ellen Youssef, who pushed to get the program at her school.

If the thermometer detects a fever, it'll tell parents to keep the kids home to make sure the bug doesn't spread. And it gives advice when staying at home may not be necessary.

"It'll let parents know if you have a temperature within this range, drink fluids, get rest," Youssef said.

The information is anonymous, but parents will see the same trends as the nurses.

Miramonte is one of six California schools putting it to the test when the thermometers arrive, hopefully later this month.

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educationflu seasonhealthchildren's healthFresno County
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