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UW Medical Student Educates Palouse on Fevers

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In Whitman County, medical student is trying to help families stay safe, and aware during flu season. Nick Rasmussen's passion is making sure all people have access to health care and a healthy life.

“The health of a community is the strength of a community," he says.

And recently, the University of Washington medical student started a program in Whitman County to help him achieve that goal.

“The project is to give thermometers to everyone in the community with a fever facts card that explains what a fever is, what a fever isn’t. What you should do about a fever."

Now that flu season is here, Rasmussen hopes his program will help educate local families. Thermometers are donated by community members, and Rasmussen then distributes them to those in need, along with a fact card. The fact card has one very specific purpose.

“Kids are able to get better health care; I'm hoping that parents are more prepared to go to the doctor when they have a sick child."

Through this project, Rasmussen wants to debunk the myths of fevers.

“Two thirds of parents use either observation or touch to determine if their kid has a fever, but that's only accurate 50 percent of the time. And certainly you're not able to feel a kid and say this is a 101 degree temperature compared to this is a 105 degree temperature."

So far, Rasmussen has received over a thousand thermometer donations, and since September, he's given out 200. He fully expects to give out the remaining amount by the end of the calendar year. Rasmussen also hopes to partner up with WSU to give every incoming freshman a thermometer and fever fact card in the near future.

While he's only been distributing thermometers and fact cards since the beginning of September, Rasmussen says he wants to see it expand to different counties, and maybe even to the entire pacific northwest.

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