There’s an app for that! Using technology to minimise health risks to the elderly from pollen, smoke and heat

Ms Sharon Campbell1, Dr Amanda Wheeler1, Dr Fay Johnston1

1Menzies Institute for Medical Research

Environmental conditions such as smoke, pollen and temperature can have a major impact on the health of vulnerable people, especially the elderly and those with existing chronic health conditions. Severe air pollution and heat events are known to cause increases in ambulance call outs, hospital admissions and death.

AirRater is a free, innovative and unique air quality monitoring project delivering automated and personalised data on smoke, temperature and aeroallergens to a smartphone app or web-based interface. This enables individuals with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or allergic rhinitis, and their carers, to identify poor air quality and receive early warnings.

Understanding reductions in air quality can lead to improvements in symptom management and quality of life.

This presentation will provide information on the AirRater app, how it has been used and received in Tasmania to date, and how it can be used in a residential aged care setting.

Why the topic will be of interest to participants: Residential aged care facilities can use the AirRater app to assist with resident management and reducing the health risks associated with increased smoke pollution, increased pollen and extreme heat.

Sharon Campbell has a background in public health, with a particular interest in environmental health and climate change. Sharon managed the AirRater project through development and launch and was instrumental in building a user base across Tasmania. Sharon has managed the evaluation of the AirRater app and has been key in building relationships between a broad range of stakeholders.

Sharon has a Masters of Health Promotion and is a PhD candidate at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, looking at the area of climate change and health in Tasmania.

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