Between sneezes, I recently focused my watery eyes on a news story that said this spring’s allergy season is probably the worst ever. Blame it on warmer temps, lots of late-winter precipitation, global climate change or whatever else you see fit.
I quickly searched for apps that could help me manage and even predict my allergy suffering. I found two that are worth a look: WebMD Allergy, a new release currently for iOS; and Zyrtec AllergyCast for iOS and Android. Both are free.
WebMD Allergy asks you questions about the specific allergies you suffer from: Outdoor/Hay Fever; Indoor/Year-Round; Food; Skin; Drug; Insect Bites and Stings; and Latex. You just click to select the ones that apply and tell the app your geographical location.
The result: A daily allergy forecast, which includes the local weather and graphs depicting the severity of conditions that affect your particular allergies.
WebMD Allergy also offers related information, including a “Dust Allergy Checklist,” prepared by medical professionals. An Allergy Tracker lets you keep a daily journal of symptoms, treatments and notes. And you can email your journal as a PDF document.
Though WebMD Allergy is free, it includes ads for drugs like Zyrtec, an over-the-counter allergy medication. That brings us to Zyrtec’s own allergy app.
Zyrtec AllergyCast provides an allergy forecast for the current day, as well as for the coming three days. Each day receives a rating to designate low, medium or high allergy rates.
For example, Wednesday, May 29, rated a 6.3 (medium) in San Francisco. According to the app, the predominant pollens in my city that day were grass, olive trees and privet, a flowering plant.
Zyrtec’s app also has an allergy tracker that can be used to keep records of symptoms, feelings and current pollens. You can mark cities as “Favorites,” a valuable features for people who travel frequently and appreciate allergy forecasts for multiple locations.
Each app has something to offer allergy sufferers. I give Zyrtec a slight edge for its more graphical interface and extended allergy forecasts, but I recommend downloading them both. I’d also keep your Kleenex handy. (There’s no app for that.)
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.