3. Mobile applications
Asthma sufferers can download a variety of free or low-cost mobile applications to help manage their symptoms. Some apps provide asthma reduction tips and home remedies, while others help individuals keep logs of their attacks, building a database of triggers, duration, location, symptoms and more. All this information helps raise a patient’s awareness of what triggers – and can help prevent – their attacks.
At the more sophisticated end, Dr Steven Kagen, an allergy and immunology specialist in Appleton, Wisconsin, has developed an app that correlates self-reported symptoms (such as wheezing lungs, itchy eyes, a cough or a runny nose) with various weather elements, allowing consumers to identify the environmental triggers that make them feel worse. Patients can also use the app to predict symptoms based on a four-day future weather forecast and bring in weather data from another geographic area so they can prepare themselves when travelling. The more often consumers complete the test, the more precise the app is at defining triggers. The app also geo-locates the closest board-certified asthma and allergy specialist so users can seek help immediately.
“This information is empowering to patients,” says Dr Kagen, who also believes that once people understand why they feel the way they do, they’re more able to make smart choices and take proactive steps to feel better.