Presents and holiday cheer are not the only things people are spreading this time of year, a lot of germs are too. Washing your hands and wiping off surfaces are good ways to try and stay healthy, and now your phone might help you too.
Wake Forest Baptist Health is trying to keep you informed of what illnesses are going around in your area with the Sneez App. The app first came out a few years ago, but now you can see diagnoses from Wake Forest Baptist primary care practices and urgent care clinics. You can also use the app to see what symptoms people are self-reporting, like coughing, sneezing, fever, chills, and more. This allows people to see a heat map of what illnesses and symptoms are common in their area.
All of the data that is self-reported and being reported by health care professionals is completely anonymous. It does not reveal who is sick, but what is being diagnosed and in what area.
“I’ve got four kids, and now grandkids, and so many times they do have a sore throat and you’re trying to decide how likely is it they have strep and we need to take them in, or there’s no strep around and they probably have a viral illness,” Dr. Bill Satterwhite said. He created the app.
The diagnoses of flu, viruses, colds, and strep throat are shown on a trend graph where people can see how often things are getting diagnosed and how it compares to previous years too.
This can help a lot of people understand what precautions they might need to take to stay healthy.
“There’s probably several groups that need to be aware of this. One is parents for newborns, premature babies, the second is senior adults, who often have a strong need not to get sick, and then people maybe undergoing cancer treatments maybe other immunosuppressant issues. They really need to know what’s out there,” Dr. Satterwhite said.
The app can also help connect you to medical help right away. There are options to connect to a nurse, do a virtual visit, reserve a spot at a Wake Forest Baptist Health urgent care, or check in on ER wait times.
Dr. Satterwhite says having access to this information will hopefully help people figure out the best way to keep their loved ones healthy.
“I want them to use it as a way to make the community a healthier place to be. That’s the overarching goal and mission we have. But I want them to use it to know what’s coming, almost like the illness weather and be able to prepare for that, and at the same time respond in an informed way when they do feel bad, in terms of should I spend my money, should I rearrange my day, should I pick up my child from school to go to the doctor,” he said.
The app is free and is available for download on both iPhone and Android devices.