Tools to help with asthma and allergies
The prevalence of asthma and allergies has increased dramatically in recent years. In the United States alone, it is estimated that 50 million people suffer from these conditions. And while there is no cure, there are ways to manage these diseases and improve your quality of life. One way to do this is by using apps specifically designed for people with asthma and allergies.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the lungs. It is characterized by wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. Asthma can be triggered by environmental factors such as pollution or allergies, or it can be caused by a viral infection. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed with medication and avoiding triggers.
What are allergies?
Allergies are a reaction of the immune system to an irritant. The most common allergens are pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and pet dander. Symptoms of allergies include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and itching.
There are three types of allergies:
These are caused by pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds.
These occur when the body reacts to proteins in certain foods.
This happens when the body reacts to a medication.
When to consult a health professional
If you think you or your child may have asthma, it's important to see a doctor. Asthma can't be diagnosed with a blood test or x-ray. Instead, the doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They may also do a physical exam and lung function tests.
If you're having trouble breathing, it's important to seek medical help right away. This could be a sign of an asthma attack, which is a potentially life-threatening condition.
Treatment options for allergies and asthma
There are both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options for allergies and asthma.
Pharmacological treatments include medications such as antihistamines, bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and leukotriene inhibitors. Asthma patients should establish an asthma action plan with their doctor and keep a rescue inhaler on hand for immediate relief during an attack.
Non-pharmacological treatments include avoiding triggers and practicing stress relief techniques. Avoidance of environmental exposures, physical activity and educational interventions are most important. High-level evidence is available for avoidance of tobacco and smoke exposure, physical activity, healthy diet and avoidance of medications that worsen asthma. Some breathing techniques may also be of some help.
And then, some apps may also help! These apps can offer weather, smog and pollens forecast, help track symptoms, monitor medication use, find support from other people with similar conditions, learn and practice breathing techniques or monitor peak flow values or blood oxygen saturation, with the help of connected devices.
The Vik Asthma app helps patients with asthma by providing information about symptoms, treatments, and diagnosis. It also reminds patients to take their medication, helps them track their symptoms and helps them determine whether or not their disease is well controlled.
Smart Asthma is a free app that helps asthmatics control their asthma and build a healthier lifestyle. The app allows users to connect a peak flow meter (to be purchased from the company) for automatic data entry, or to manually enter peak flow values taken home. The app then divides the results into 3 colored areas to indicate to the user whether their condition is improving or worsening. The app also allows sharing of flow graphs with a healthcare professional, and offers reminders for taking peak flow measurements and taking notes on symptoms.
Apps specifically designed for people with asthma and allergies can help manage the disease and improve quality of life. They can provide information about symptoms, treatments, and diagnosis, remind patients to take their medication, and help track their symptoms. Some apps may also offer weather, smog, and pollen forecasts, help find support from other people with similar conditions, or teach breathing techniques. Finally, other apps allow peak flow monitoring using a connected device.
Your health care professional can help you choose
Feeling confident is important. Get all the essential information about health apps by talking to your healthcare professional.
AppGuide provides reliable information about mobile health apps that allows patients and healthcare professionals to make informed, shared decisions about using a health app to track health status or act on your priority health goals.