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Flu Tool a powerful resource for treatment decisions

Jan. 22, 2020, 1:09 PM


As flu cases spike in Middle Tennessee, Vanderbilt Health would like to remind patients and staff about the Flu Tool, an online resource for quickly assessing flu-like symptoms and identifying corresponding treatment recommendations. The tool was created at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“The goal of the Flu Tool is to give patients a more focused decision for treatment based on symptoms. After answering a couple of questions, the tool helps them decide if it’s just a standard case of flu, and they should call their provider and go on antiviral medication, or if they need general advice for home care, or if there are red flags that indicate something more serious, like pneumonia,” said Trent Rosenbloom, MD, MPH, associate professor of Biomedical Informatics and director of Vanderbilt’s patient portal, My Health at Vanderbilt.

The tool poses a brief series of yes/no questions to the user. It’s available at and can also be accessed through Alexa, the voice-activated virtual assistant from (using an Alexa device or the Alexa phone app, say, “Alexa, enable Flu Tool”).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting high levels of flu activity in Tennessee. Typical flu symptoms include fever or chills, muscle or body aches, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, headaches and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. For additional information visit the CDC website.

In addition to promoting the Flu Tool, Rosenbloom has another recommendation: “It’s never too late to get your flu shot.”

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