How you can watch germs where you are

Health

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) — A tool once used for doctors to track illnesses can now be used by the general public.

You can find out what ailments are especially bad and where.

“One of the ways we know what’s circulating in our community in Utah is an application called GermWatch.”

Dr. Per Gestland with the University of Utah School of Medicine and Primary Children’s Hospital created GermWatch.org. It helps doctors and the public know what’s making people sick.

“You can get a report of what’s circulating, read about the signs and symptoms and prevent yourself from getting sick and what you can do to minimize the spread.”

For instance, doctors are seeing ‘moderate activity’ with hand, foot and mouth disease.
A color coded map tells you where the cases are especially high.

GermWatch shows us currently, Croup is also going around but not as widespread as hand, foot and mouth.

Dr. Gesteland says GermWatch is a partnership between major healthcare systems including Intermountain Healthcare and the University of Utah Department of Pediatrics.
 
“The health department is a good partner. We collaborate with them. They don’t have the resources to track these sort of things. This is a tool tailored for clinicians and for the public that fills in some of the gaps.”

GermWatch provides public health surveillance and identifies trends and predicts illnesses such as flu, RSV, and many others.


Heat maps target 61 areas by zip code to predict local outbreaks and if illnesses are spreading.

“So you can learn about these things and hopefully take care of yourself and seek care if you are getting into trouble,” said Gesteland. 

GermWatch was first introduced to monitor illnesses during the Olympics. More here: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/health-information/germwatch/

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