Put this smart thermometer in your kid’s ear to get advice on how to combat her fever

Last year, we tried out the Kinsa Smart Thermometer. The $30 device had no display and needed to be inserted into your phone’s headphone jack before being stuck under your kid’s tongue to get a reading. Recently, the company released a smarter ear thermometer. This one has a screen, eliminating the need for your phone. However, it does use Bluetooth to pair with an iOS or Android app to help you keep track of your family’s health.

The Kinsa Ear Thermometer works much like any other similar device. Insert it into the patient’s ear, hit the button, and you’ll get a reading almost instantly. If you have the app open, a voice will read your temperature aloud to you, but it’s also displayed on the thermometer. Whatever the temp, you can save it in one of multiple profiles. The app will prompt you to mark your symptoms as well, whether it’s a headache, chills, sore throat, and so on.

The plastic battery-powered Kinsa is 5.9 by 1.8 by 1 inches and weighs just 3 ounces. There’s a little cover that snaps over the bit that goes into the ear, and you can use alcohol wipes to clean any waxy residue. After I downloaded the app, it took less than a minute to pair the thermometer with my phone. I didn’t even have to create a login with my email address.

The handy app uses your age and symptoms to offer advice from sources like WebMD, the Cleveland Clinic, and the Mayo Clinic. Information about your temperature and symptoms are uploaded to the cloud and aggregated based on location. This is done anonymously, but it’s meant to help track where illnesses are popping up.

A more personalized version of this is the Groups feature, which lets you keep tabs on the cough that’s going around your kid’s school and send messages to parents, whether you want to ask advice or warn everyone in her class that her stomach ache was more than just an overdose of Pirate’s Booty. It’s all part of creator Inder Singh’s plan to track “health weather;” he essentially wants everyone to be able to see if pockets of illness are cropping up in their city. Of course, that requires a large number of people to use the Kinsa thermometers.

While Braun’s non-connected ear thermometer costs about $37, the Kinsa version is $50. It all comes down to whether or not you want to contribute your stats to your community’s health weather.

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