Allergies are irritating at best and life-threatening at worse. And regardless of whether they’re environmental or food related, the scariest thing about allergies is that they can attack at any time, anywhere.
This is why allergy apps serve such an important purpose: they’re like having a field guide, medical dictionary, cookbook, and first-response resource in your pocket wherever you go.
Though one of the best ways of avoiding symptoms is by avoiding allergens altogether, that’s not always easy. So to be safe, it’s wise for anyone with allergies to consider an app that will tell them what to avoid, how to avoid it, or what to do if symptoms appear.
From apps that give you the daily pollen index to ones that scan ingredient labels for you, here’s a look at 10 mobile apps that utilize the latest tech to provide you with preventative, alternative, or responsive information that can ease symptoms, and maybe even save your life.
Apps like Zyrtec AllergyCast take the guesswork out of allergies. Zyrtec AllergyCast is a free iPhone and Android app created by the allergy and cold medication provider, Zyrtec. The app helps you avoid allergies by tracking the daily pollen index and informing you when it’s high. It analyzes 40,000 zip codes to give you real-time and relevant updates, as well as showing hourly and 10-day weather and allergy forecasts.
WebMD Allergy app has tons of information on indoor, outdoor, and food allergies, and lists treatment options. A cool feature is the app’s journal feature, where you can log your symptoms daily to keep track of your health.
If you’re someone who suffers from seasonal or environmental allergies, chances are you don’t have time every morning to read a detailed report before you step out the door. Allergy Alert is a free app, provided by Pollen.com, that offers visual changes on your screen to let you know immediately whether trees, grass, or ragweed are the culprits outside. That said, Allergy Alert does provide more detailed information for those who need it, including plant descriptions and photographs, 5-day weather and allergy forecasts, and your own personal allergy diary.
Riskier allergies, like food related ones, can include nut, dairy, or fish allergies; and can be life-threatening in many cases. As anybody with high-risk food allergies knows, it’s extremely important to avoid the specific food at all costs. This is particularly challenging when eating out at restaurants because you aren’t in control of what’s going into your dish. For this, you should check out the AllergyEats app. The peer-based feedback app came out in 2010 and lets you see restaurant menus, ingredient information, and reviews posted by other users.
Substitutions, which is only available for iPhone, helps you find substitutes to an ingredient in a recipe you are allergic to. Get suggestions for ingredients in place of fish, gluten, nuts, alcohol, and dairy.
Allergy Force, available on Androids and iPhones, is loaded with helpful allergen information including FDA food-recall alerts, EpiPen expiration reminders, and a hidden allergen list that documents the alternative names allergens may be listed under. However, it’s the allergen scanner that may most come in handy on a day-to-day basis: simply scan the barcode of packaged food with your phone and it will cross-check the ingredients to make sure there’s nothing harmful in its contents.
Like all medical conditions, it’s recommended to not only keep up with your symptoms and reactions, but check in with a doctor to ensure they’re not getting worse. We like ZocDoc. It’s a helpful app for finding doctors, in this case allergists. You can find a doctor near you, see what insurance they accept, and book appointments straight from the app.
If you’re more cautious and try to avoid restaurants altogether, Yummly and Substitutions can become your best friends. Yummly is available for iPhone and Android, and helps you collect recipes from different websites according to your preferences. So if you are only interested in fish-free recipes, just type it in, search, and voila!
Like other food-allergy apps, Spokin offers recipes, hidden-allergen lists, brand recommendations, and more. But what makes it unique is the community feature. You can follow other users with similar allergies and curate a personalized news feed that will aggregate relevant news, articles, food updates, and restaurant and hotel reviews from those who share the same allergies as you.
First Aid by American Red Cross is a free app available for iPhone and Android. The app provides you with walkthroughs, explanations, videos, and instructions on scenarios that may require first aid. This is particularly useful in the case of anaphylactic shock.
Allergies are rough. From kids, to teens, to adults, they affect a large portion of the population. Use the resources that are out there and arm yourself against both seasonal irritants, and more life-threatening allergies. There are incredible apps out there for people suffering from allergies, so make sure you’re always prepared.