Got allergies? If you do, the Internet offers a host of helpful options, from widgets to iPhone applications to pollen-counting programs that deliver daily emails to your inbox. Used correctly, these digital tools can help fight allergies in the real word, experts say.
“You may need some skin tests to correlate the onset of your symptoms with specific pollen or outdoor allergens. Once you are diagnosed and can correlate that pollen, for example, triggers your symptoms, you can be on the alert,” he says.
If youre not sure what is triggering your symptoms, use these Web-based self-tests from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology to find out if you might have allergies or asthma and to locate the right allergist.
Although the Internet-based pollen watchers and widgets are relatively new, the process of collecting and counting pollen has been going on for decades, and the results typically are published in local newspapers. Experts have long known that high pollen counts cause sniffling, sneezing, and other nasal allergy symptoms.
To get started, heres a guide to the worthwhile Web tools that can help you fight sniffling, sneezing, and watery eyes.
Allergy Alert (Android, iOS) (Free)
Pollen.com’s Allergy Alert (Android, iOS) app provides accurate forecasts for a variety of environmental allergies, which can be invaluable in planning your outdoor excursions. The iOS app provides users with one-day or four-day forecasts set to your location, as well as additional health indices for asthma, UV radiation, as well as cold and cough risk. The newer Android app provides 5-day allergen forecasts for multiple locations, allergen info and a symptom tracker for logging your condition.
WebMD can be a blessing or a curse depending on how fanatically you search it trying to match your symptoms, but their allergy app is blessedly easy to use and should keep the hypochondriacs among us from breathing any harder than our allergies already do. The WebMD allergy app has a general breakdown of allergies that are in the air today, but lacks future forecasting like the rest of our list. There is a nice map that will show allergy severity county by county in an easy to use map.
What it lacks in forecasting, it makes up in explanations and literature. This makes sense: after all, WebMD is a medical database full of explanations for symptoms and diseases. If you scroll through the app for more than a minute, you’ll be treated with links for a dozen allergy related articles and entries. If you need more information about allergies, this app has it for you. If you want to know what allergies are going to do for the next week, you’ll want to keep moving.
ZYRTEC AllergyCast (Android, iOS) (Free)
Zyrtec’s AllergyCast (Android, iOS) is another popular allergy forecasting app that provides a variety of tools for planning ahead for those living with allergies. The app provides pollen and weather forecasts, notifications for high pollen levels, as well as indicators for which types of pollen are prevalent at the moment, as well as tips on how to deal with them. Users can set favorite locations for quick reference, and the app comes with a symptom tracker so that users can log their symptoms and track how they’re feeling throughout the day.
Weather Channel, powered by Flonase
The Weather Channel is the most well-known weather service in the country, and with forecasts for just about any outdoor activity, it should come as no surprise that it has a robust allergy forecast in its app. And it’s sponsored by Flonase, meaning that it’s not completely filled with ads like the rest of the Weather Channel app.
The forecast is divided into three sections, pollen for trees, grass, and ragweed, breathing for asthmatics, and mold for the dread fungus. Pollen and Breathing show forecasts for the next seven days, but mold does not, which is a bummer since mold is a year-long allergen as opposed to more seasonal pollens.
If you want a quick summary of what allergies look like for a particular category right now and for the next week, Accuweather will get you in, out, and on your way. The allergens are categorized, but since the categories are broad, they might not be the most helpful if you’re only allergic to a few specific kinds of pollen. Accuweather is a top-tier weather app, so if you’re already using it for weather, the allergy forecast is an adequate freebie if you want to avoid installing another app.