Best apps for tracking pollen and spring allergies
Spring means so many things to so many people, but if you ask an allergy sufferer, spring means one thing: MISERY.
Spring is beautiful, isn't it? The sky is blue; the flowers are a rainbow of delight; the birds are singing in the trees; the roving clouds of pollen blow across the freeway- OH GOD NO!
That's right, my friends, 'Tis the season that puts the suffer in 'allergy sufferer,' and whether your poison is tree pollen, grass pollen, mold spores, dust, or dander, you best not leave the house before you do two things. The first is to check your daily allergy forecast and the second is to medicate before the microscopic miscreants can bring their misery. There are many apps to check the allergy forecast, and these are the best.
WebMD can be a blessing or a curse depending on how fanatically you search it trying to match your symptoms, but their allergy app is blessedly easy to use and should keep the hypochondriacs among us from breathing any harder than our allergies already do. The WebMD allergy app has a general breakdown of allergies that are in the air today, but lacks future forecasting like the rest of our list. There is a nice map that will show allergy severity county by county in an easy to use map.
What it lacks in forecasting, it makes up in explanations and literature. This makes sense: after all, WebMD is a medical database full of explanations for symptoms and diseases. If you scroll through the app for more than a minute, you'll be treated with links for a dozen allergy related articles and entries. If you need more information about allergies, this app has it for you. If you want to know what allergies are going to do for the next week, you'll want to keep moving.
AllergyCast by Zyrtec
Zyrtec is one of the most popular over the counter antihistamines on the market, so it has a vested interest in making sure that its users know how bad pollen is outside so they know if and how much allergy medication they need to take. AllergyCast is a vivid app, bathed in the color corresponding with today's allergy forecast, which most days is going to be bright goldenrod. You can see which pollens are highest at the moment and the overall allergy forecast. You can also track your allergy symptoms day to day, if you need to track them for your immunologist.
As this app is made and maintained by Zyrtec, there is, of course, an entire section about their allergy products to help ease your suffering. That said, it's fairly easy to avoid looking at their products, their logos in the app are mostly small, and the app is responsive and quick, though the allergy forecast could use a bit more precision.
Weather Channel, powered by Flonase
The Weather Channel is the most well-known weather service in the country, and with forecasts for just about any outdoor activity, it should come as no surprise that it has a robust allergy forecast in its app. And it's sponsored by Flonase, meaning that it's not completely filled with ads like the rest of the Weather Channel app.
The forecast is divided into three sections, pollen for trees, grass, and ragweed, breathing for asthmatics, and mold for the dread fungus. Pollen and Breathing show forecasts for the next seven days, but mold does not, which is a bummer since mold is a year-long allergen as opposed to more seasonal pollens.
If you want a quick summary of what allergies look like for a particular category right now and for the next week, Accuweather will get you in, out, and on your way. The allergens are categorized, but since the categories are broad, they might not be the most helpful if you're only allergic to a few specific kinds of pollen. Accuweather is a top-tier weather app, so if you're already using it for weather, the allergy forecast is an adequate freebie if you want to avoid installing another app.
What do you use to track pollen? Do you track your symptoms, too, or just their cause? How have your allergies been this season? Mine have been okay, but my sinuses feel like someone punched me in the face. Send honey and other remedies in the comments.
If none of these apps quite work for you, there is also one more suggestion I have for you: check out the apps from your local news stations. Some local weather apps will partner with local allergists to get more accurate local pollen counts and forecasts!