I Tried the Illinois Health Screener (Here’s What Happened) 

By: Mila Mariner

Health and fitness trackers like Fitbit and your Apple Watch have been all the rage for years now; they’re nothing new. But did you know that the Illinois app has a health-tracking tool as well? It doesn’t require you to put on any wearable device like a watch, and it doesn’t track anything that you don’t report. It’s more like a checklist that tells you who to call or what to do if you haven’t been feeling quite like yourself lately. Let me tell you about how I used it.  

On Monday, I woke up with a sore throat. No big deal, but that scratchy feeling could be nothing or it could mess up my whole day. I thought maybe I didn’t drink enough water before I went to bed. But my roommate was also sick last week – with strep. The odds don’t look so good. 

I was kind of thinking about heading out for class, but I had heard about the Health Screener on the Illinois app and I was curious about what it does. I didn’t really know if it would make an appointment with a doctor for me, or if it might tell me whether I had strep or not. I’m pretty sure only a test can do that, but I figured I’d try it out.  

To get to the Health Screener, you go to the Wellness section of the app and find Illinois Health Screener on the drop-down menu. So, I went there and started checking off symptoms.  

I have a sore throat, so I checked that box. Then I worked my way down the list. 

I was feeling feverish, but my temperature was right below 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit. I just rounded up a little. I could have said that I didn’t know whether I had a fever but that I felt feverish. It’s neat that I had the option to be pretty vague. 

I answered all the questions over my favorite snack (pretzels) because I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything else – yes, they did hurt to eat. Pro-tip: Pretzels aren’t good food for a sore throat. I wasn’t surprised with the Health Screener results, though. I actually felt a little validated. It told me to Dial-a-Nurse. I was probably going to do that anyway, but at least I could tell the nurse that I took the screener – and that I might actually have strep throat. The app actually saved my responses, so I had a list of symptoms and the date when they started. It was good to know that I would have that list handy in a couple of weeks if I didn’t start feeling better. 

So, anyway. I didn’t have strep throat. I went in, got a test, and it was negative. I was told to stay home and rest because I might have actually had the flu, or I was dehydrated.  

Try the Illinois Health Screener, even if you feel okay! It can’t hurt to stay on top of your wellness, and maybe take a self-care day once in a while.  

Categories: Using the app