Monday, March 23, 2020

A quick note on baselines and monitoring

People in IT generally get the importance of monitoring for spotting issues. This is why surveillance systems tend toward overkill on data capture as well. Because looking for a pattern, much less a trend in limited data too often leads to the wrong conclusions.

The current CoVid-19 guidelines include taking you temperature twice a day. At first this might seem excessive but here is the deal.

  • 98.6 is a generalized average for humans. But actual people vary a fair bit from that. I remember the first physical I had to have for a job the doctor tried 3 thermometers on me before finally deciding I was fine other than being on the low end of the spectrum. 
  • Then you add to that people's temp varies over the day and thermometers are not near as accurate as most people assume. Take your temp 2 or 3 times in 5 minutes and see for yourself. 

So knowing YOUR normal range with YOUR thermometer is critical to knowing if you actually have a fever. Those with allergies probably already know this as often a fever it the main difference between a bad allergy day and having a cold or the flu.

Personally I use MyNetDiary to log all kinds of health data including how I feel, pills I take, food I eat and even how much water I drink cause when I feel like crap I want to know why. And hopefully how I can work out how to avoid it happening again or at least plan to deal. This can be very useful sorting allergies and controlling weight as well. Being able to see the data in charts really helps in seeing patterns and bad data too.

Note there are lots of online tracking services I like MyNetDiary because it support custom things like temperature. Note they hide these in the diabetes section for some reason I've never sorted. You will notice above I even track the room temperature at the time I take my temperature just to ensure if there is any variance discovered later that might be accounted for by the room temp. Like I said there really is no such thing as too much data. You can always filter or delete later but you can not go back and get data you did not think mattered at the time.

For easy of use it is hard to beat the Withings Thermo Sadly Withings does not show charts for temperature. But then last I checked transcribing into a service like MyNetDiary was the only way to get a chart of your temperature. Maybe after this outbreak that will change.  

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