ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- To battle the spread of the flu, dozens of elementary schools in Missouri are giving out free smart thermometers to help with early sickness detection.

Emily Storey has juvenile arthritis and she takes medicine that compromises her immune system. Her mom, Amanda, says a smart thermometer makes it easier to keep her daughter healthy.

"It makes us more aware of the things that are going on," Amanda Storey said. 

More than 45 Missouri schools are using the Kinsa Smart Thermometer, which uses Bluetooth and connects to an app on your phone.

When you take a temperature, it records the time and then you can record any symptoms. That data is then uploaded anonymously to a website.

School nurses, as well as parents, can share that data in order to better track illness.

"Having an app with the communication coming from the nurse knowing OK, kids have been diagnosed with strep so we're going to watch out, we're going to wash our hands extra we're going to come home and immediately change our clothes," nurse Anna Levinson said. 

Heathcare providers say early detection is key to stop the spread of the flu and other illnesses--and that's the goal of this program.

"Now that we have this platform to communicate with parents it makes that a lot easier," Levinson said. 

The thermometer also advises you on when to see a doctor.

"If you see a higher fever, it will tell you symptoms that you should watch out for that require emergency treatment," Levinson said.

Amanda Storey says the program helps bring her family peace of mind.

"By using it, and us staying healthy, it helps then everybody else stay healthy," Amanda Storey said.

Copyright 2019 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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