Social Responsibility

Citizen scientists to track allergies with new smartphone app

Tue, 23 May 2017 14:35:00 BST

Members of the public are invited to download a free app to track their seasonal allergy symptoms and to help researchers understand more about why the frequency of allergies is increasing.

A new and improved version of the #BritainBreathing app that allows users to track their seasonal allergies as part of a major research project to understand allergies, has just been launched, both on Android and iOS, allowing even more users to take part. Our pilot project ran for six months last year and had over 1,500 users record their symptoms. The 2017 version of the app will allow people to record and track their allergic responses in real time, with the data collected then shared anonymously with scientists working to understand more about allergies in the UK.

The app has been produced collaboratively by a multidisciplinary team of scientists at The University of Manchester, the Royal Society of Biology and the British Society for Immunology.

One in four people in the UK suffer from seasonal allergies. Researchers still do not understand why the number of people suffering from seasonal allergies, such as hay fever and asthma, is on the rise, but they think it may be linked to environmental changes such as pollen counts, the weather or an increase in air pollutants.

Dr Sheena Cruickshank, from the University and British Society for Immunology, said: “We know that more people than ever are suffering from seasonal allergies, but we don’t understand why this is. It could be pollution, super pollens, increased cleanliness, or a combination of factors. For our second year, with the help of the public, we hope gain a better picture of the driving forces behind why seasonal allergies are on the rise.”

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