The Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) and the University Hospital Zurich (USZ) have launched a free smartphone application on pollen allergies in Switzerland. Data from the app will serve as the basis for a scientific study.
Called "Ally Science", the app is available from Tuesday in the four national languages and in English. It enables users to maintain their pollen allergy diary, check pollen forecasts, and together with the app community generate real-time representations of increases in allergy symptoms in different parts of the country.
The anonymised data generated from user accounts will feed into the largest-ever scientific study of pollen allergies in Switzerland. Data generated is stored on a secure platform, and users can opt out of the study if they wish.
“The health-related data recorded via the app and used in the USZ study in anonymised form will also contribute to important new discoveries that could improve forecasts/early-warning systems and therapies for people with pollen allergies,” said a press releaseexternal link by BFH.
Around two million people in Switzerland suffer from allergy-like symptoms during the pollen season. These include stinging eyes, runny nose, itchy skin, sore throat and breathing difficulties. To date, it is not known where such symptoms occur most frequently or strongly and what factors influence them.
“The aim of the study is to make discoveries that enable us to offer better advice, better therapies and better pollen warning systems,” said Professor Peter Schmid-Grendelmeier, head of the USZ Allergy Station.