Global Health

What We Are Learning from the First Thousand Participants about Allergies

We’ve analyzed the data from the first 1,441 participants who reported allergy symptoms between September 1 to November 2018, and are learning about how allergy triggers and symptoms vary across the United States, as well as gathering data that will shape future AI efforts. has seen awesome demand for a new kind of prospective research study called a data trial. Our first data trial "Can Artificial Intelligence Predict Your Risk of Allergies?" was launched this past fall. The study gathered data from users about their allergy symptoms and triggers. Study participants are asked to document, via the app, the severity and time of their symptoms (e.g., high, medium, or low severity).

Figure 1. Screenshot from data trial: “Can Artificial Intelligence Predict Your Risk of Allergies?”

Study participants were active from the start. For September 1 through November 2018, here’s an overview of reporting:

Figure 2. Map of allergy data trial participants. Points represent locations in the US with greater than 3 participants.

Of the ~70k reports submitted to, 47% reported the user having an allergy attack (n=33,739 reports). Of these allergy reports, the majority of reports mentioned that the allergy attack came in morning (71% of all reports), followed by evening (45% of all reports) (the reports can report more than one time of the day). Very few came from the night.

Figure 3. Allergy triggers reported by users

Study participants were also asked about what triggered their allergy symptoms for each report. The specific trigger was indicated by app users in over 17,000 reports, and pollen was the most frequent trigger followed by mold and pets.

How do the participants of the allergy trial compare to general folks with (and without) allergies across the United States? To learn how participants are similar and different to those in the general US population, we compared participants to participants from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study.

In short, the NHANES is a health survey that is administered by the US CDC whose primary objective is to ascertain prevalence of disease and health of the United States. Participants of NHANES are representative of the United States and give us a glimpse of the variation of health in the US population. In 2005-2006, NHANES participants were surveyed about their allergies and allergy-related symptoms.

First, allergy sufferers are more likely to be female, both in the allergy trial and in the general United States population: study participants also reported their symptoms using the app with itching, followed by headache, difficulty breathing, and wheezing being the top symptoms reported.

Figure 4. Symptoms reported by users

In summary, we are starting to learn about the triggers and symptoms of allergy sufferers across the United States from this exciting new kind of platform. We will be releasing more in-depth analyses soon as more data become available.

If you’re interested in participating in trials check out

Written by Chirag Patel and Arjun Manraion August 22, 2019