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«Astronomical» spring started a few days ago, on March 20th and since then a growing number of people are concerned about one thing: Allergic rhinitis. And the forecast is anything but reassuring. The Committee for Aerobiology of the Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (SEAIC) has predicted that the amount of pollen in the air this year will reach higher levels than last year. This alone would not necessarily be something to worry about, if the levels in 2013 had not doubled those reached in 2012.
We have to keep in mind as well that according to this committee, 15% of the Spanish population currently suffers from some kind of allergy caused by the excess of hygiene society today has gotten used to and which provokes the immune systems of many people to get «lazy» and to stop fighting certain external threats. The figure is even more alarming if we extend our view to a global scale, since, according to the World Allergy Organization (WAO), between 30 and 40% of the population worldwide suffer some kind of allergy or asthmatic disease.
In any case, Francisco Feo, president of the SEAIC, claims that people who suffered from some kind of pollen allergy in the past years should not be alarmed. According to this expert it is essential to take the corresponding medication, which basically keeps the allergic reaction under control in order to minimize the impact on the patient. In order to achieve this, it is very important to prescribe a a continuous treatment to the people suffering from this condition, which adapts to the amount and type of pollen. The difficult part is the fact that these values vary constantly, which is why the quantity of pollen we may encounter during two consecutive spring days may be significantly different.
Fortunately, mobile technology can play a decisive role in this scenario and there is a very valuable tool available to all those suffering from some kind of allergy against pollen or other substances that are in the air in springtime to help them get through this season suffering as little as possible: Their smartphone. Within the last few years, dozens of apps have been released to the stores for mobile applications of Google, Apple and Microsoft. Apps designed not only to identify the symptoms we may be suffering from and help us find the adequate treatment, but also to let us obtain real-time information about the pollen levels registered by the stations of the Allergology Committee, which are spread all around the country, and then act accordingly.
The range of apps we can install on our smartphone to fight almost any allergy more efficiently is very broad and this is even more true in the case of springtime hay fever. Some are specialized on specific types of allergens (the substances that provoke allergic reactions when entering our body) other have a more general character. You can find free or paid apps and the majority of them are available for the two most popular platforms, iOS and Android. Some also provide for Windows Phone or other less common operating systems, like BlackBerry OS or Symbian.
One especially valuable app for people allergic to pollen is Alerta Polen. Using it, you can receive real-time information on the pollen levels registered by the Allergology Committee’s stations. In addition to that, it allows you to customize the information it provides in order to adapt it to the kind of allergy you are suffering from. This app is free and available for a wide range of mobile platforms (Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Symbian).
Polen Control, on the other hand, is very helpful when identifying the symptoms we are suffering from in order to determine the kind of allergy we have. It also informs you about the pollen levels in the air and provides you with a forecast on the next few days. It is free and available for iOS and Android.
The SEIAC Committee actively participated in the development of Alergo Alarm, an app which, just like Alerta Polen and Polen Control, keeps you up to date on the pollen levels at your location. It is free like the others and available for iOS and Android. A useful complement for all the three apps mentioned above is AroundMe, which uses the GPS of your smartphone to determine your location and gives you indications where there is a pharmacy close to you, in case you need to buy medication to keep your allergy under control. It is free as well and works on Windows Phone, iOS and Android.
Another interesting app you can combine with the ones we talked about is RxmindMe Prescription. It can be very useful, not only if you are allergic, but also if you have to take medication regularly, as it lets you program an alarm that reminds you which medicine you have to take at that specific time. It is free and only available for iOS.
And that is not all. There are even apps available that you can use before traveling abroad in order to find out if you have to take any special precautions when arriving at your destination. For example, in case of elevated amounts of pollen in the air. Allergy Traveler does just that. It is free and available for Android.
As you have seen, your smartphone can help you fight allergies efficiently and palliate their effects greatly. All you have to do is “arm” it with the right apps. The ones we have mentioned are just a few of the many different ones available. There are many more options. And with their help the coming months will be much more benign for everybody suffering from whatever type of springtime “hay fever”.