by | Feb 3, 2022

Approximately one in four people suffer from seasonal allergies and this incidence is on the increase. The causes of the increase are not known, and there is a lack of quality symptom data that hampers further understanding.

#BritainBreathing was co-developed with allergy sufferers as the first nationwide citizen science project aiming to track symptoms and location to better understand what factors affect this and why seasonal allergies are on the rise.

The data is being used to build a clearer picture of the pattern and frequency of allergy incidence across the UK, and is being shared with other researchers across the UK for related projects.

The project is a partnership between the Royal Society of Biology, the British Society for Immunology, cross-disciplinary scientists at The University of Manchester, and allergy sufferers from across the UK.

The public are involved in the whole research process, and were instrumental in the design of the app and advising on how to keep people engaged throughout the project.

“My daughter, Hannah, aged 10, asked me to let you know how much she enjoyed the Cheltenham Science Festival and visiting your stand on Saturday. Hannah’s mum suffers badly from hay fever, so the experience gave her a better understanding of why Mum is not her normal self, at this time of year.”
Festival visitor

#BritainBreathing has a free-to-use smartphone app that allows the public to record their allergy symptoms in a simple and straightforward way, to help manage their own symptoms.

The app was released in 2016 and the findings from the initial study validating the scientific approach were published in 2017.

The data collection is ongoing and updates on findings are regularly posted on the project website and Twitter feed. This citizen science project is set to go international with a foray into Brazil, meaning even more of us can sneeze for science.