Click to keep flu at bay

Megan Fink

Sept. 28, 2009

Click to keep flu at bay

Online tool helps students evaluate symptoms

CHARLESTON -- Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) students with flu-like illnesses can now assess their symptoms without leaving home. Students can self evaluate their symptoms by answering several questions online and receive customized diagnostic and therapeutic advice at

With busy schedules, we often ignore our illnesses. In an academic medical setting, this can lead to spreading infection to colleagues and patients. The flu symptom evaluator will help individuals recognize when they may have the flu and when to seek medical attention.

"Drawing from an inventory of known features of the flu, the evaluation tool assesses the users' symptoms and follows the logic clinicians use to determine the likelihood of influenza," said Larry Blumenthal, M.D., director of MUSC Student Health Services and evaluator tool creator. "This tool is not a substitute for a medical evaluation and individuals who are experiencing unusually severe or prolonged illnesses are encouraged to seek medical attention. This is especially true in populations who do not always have classic symptoms of the flu and are at higher risk for complicated illnesses."

The evaluation instrument was tested and peer evaluated for accuracy and reliability. It will continue to evolve as our knowledge of influenza increases. MUSC is sharing its knowledge and technology with other interested institutions to protect the health of their student population.

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.6 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit or