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You Can Track Your Allergies With This App And Help Science At The Same Time

Scientists will combine data given to them by allergy sufferers with information on weather, pollen, and pollution to find out what is making Britain sneeze. But there's bad news for iPhone users – the app is currently only available on Android.

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Today scientists launched an app that will let allergy sufferers across Britain track their symptoms and contribute to scientific research in the process.

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The app is called #BritainBreathing, and the Android version is available to download right now. A spokesperson for the Royal Society of Biology said the team are currently working on securing funding for the development of an iOS app. They decided to launch the Android app first so they could catch the start of allergy season.

The project is a collaboration between the Royal Society of Biology, the British Society for Immunology, and the University of Manchester.

Researchers will take the (anonymised) data that users put in to the app and compare it with data on the weather, pollen levels, and pollution at the same time and place.

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App users will also be able to see how their symptoms compare to others in the UK through real-time allergy maps on the #BritainBreathing website.

If you're outside of the UK you can still use the app to track your own symptoms, but your data won't be used by scientists to do research, and there won't be any maps for you to look at.

The team behind the app say 1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from seasonal allergies like hay fever and asthma and that the number is on the rise.

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"We're seeing a real increase in allergies and we just don't know why," Dr Sheena Cruickshank of the University of Manchester said in a video about the project.

"In an allergy you're having an immune response to something that you should be ignoring," she said. "Some of the most common allergies, like hay fever and asthma, can also be caused by an allergic reaction to pollens or dust particles, and they can be exacerbated by things in the environment."

The rise in allergies could be down to different pollutants and pollens in the environment compared with the past, or it could be down to increased cleanliness and our immune system not being as well trained as it used to be.

The app will build a big picture of the pattern of allergies across the UK and the scientists hope it will help them figure out what is triggering people's allergies and why there's an increase.

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