The technology could help doctors diagnose symptoms more quickly and keep Olympians healthier.
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Fears surrounding Zika virus have engulfed news coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. However, in an attempt to help to combat the outbreak of the Zika virus, Kinsa, a healthcare product provider, announced it will donate its trademark Smart Stick Thermometer to Team USA’s Olympic athletes and companions.
Kinsa’s Smart Stick Thermometer, combined with its companion app, provides an individual with his or her temperature readings as well as symptom tracking and next step recommendations based on the user’s age and health indicators. The lack of a built-in battery allows the thermometer to be lightweight, flexible and slim, which makes it convenient for travelers.
The companion app features a “groups” section, which allows users to anonymously share data. Olympians in Rio are encouraged to join the Kinsa Olympic Village Group to see the symptoms and illnesses reported by others nearby.
Tropical regions are known for illnesses including Yellow Fever, Dengue and Chikungunya—all of which can be passed through infected mosquitoes. As the outbreak of Zika expands, U.S. Senators and the U.S. Olympic committee have discussed how athletes will be protected in Rio, and some teams have even moved their training facilities.
“Zika virus has been relatively unknown to most of the general public until recently; tracking exposure, signs and symptoms will help inform the spread of infection,” Dr. Beth Seidenberg, partner at KPCB and Kinsa board member, said in a press release. “One of the important actions during a potential pandemic is to track temperature, symptoms over time and location of the infected person. With the Kinsa thermometer this is now possible. That way if you should fall ill, your doctor will have the information he or she needs for diagnosis and early treatment.”
Former Olympic athletes realize the pivotal necessity of staying in peak physical shape, and the effect the Zika virus may have on athletes.
“As an Olympian, I know that staying healthy is paramount, and that collecting data is a key component for ensuring you’re in peak condition,” said Raj Bhavsar, a bronze medalist in the 2008 Olympics Men’s Artistic Gymnastics. “With the added concerns of Zika in Rio, I can appreciate what Kinsa is doing to help athletes stay on top of their health. If I were competing in this year’s games, I would encourage those traveling with me to monitor their health as well, bringing us all some peace of mind.”