Tech Review: Allergy apps for when you go achoo
Are you ready for sneezin' season, part 2? Spring allergies were especially intense this year on Long Island, but don't put the tissues away yet -- ragweed begins blooming in late August. And even those who don't suffer from hay fever can be made miserable because of food allergies. These apps can help you cope whether the cause for your allergy discomfort is airborne or foodborne.
AllergyCast (iOS, Android; free)
Drug marketer McNeil Consumer Healthcare developed this Zyrtec-branded app, and while the company would love it if you bought its allergy product, the app's usefulness transcends any attempt at commercialism. In addition to a four-day pollen forecast with a 1-12 scale of discomfort, AllergyCast offers tips on how to manage symptoms. You can also set alerts to have the app warn you when pollen is expected to be high.
WebMD Allergy (iOS; free)
This all-encompassing app goes beyond helping with seasonal miseries. An offshoot of health-information site webmd.com, the app offers advice on year-round allergies and allergic reactions caused by drugs, insect bites and foods. For hay-fever sufferers, the app issues forecasts on allergens based on location, and an allergy tracker can record symptoms for all types of allergic reactions. The app is loaded with tips and information that includes access to WebMD's archives of allergy articles.
Allergy Alert (iOS, Android; free)
This app from pollen.com tells you how bad the day and week are likely to be. An allergy forecast rates the discomfort on a scale of 1-12, with anything over 9.7 being a sneezefest. A "predominant pollens" readout tells you what's blowing in the wind. The app can automatically track your location via GPS, or you can enter a ZIP code if you are traveling and need to know how many handkerchiefs to pack.
My Symptoms Food Diary (iOS, Android; $2.99)
A recurring upset stomach, dull headache or nausea may be caused by reactions to various foods. This app specializes in food allergies and nonallergic food intolerances, and helps you create a diary aimed at matching symptoms with triggers. Once a possible culprit is identified, an organizer feature helps you manage foods to avoid adverse reactions.